Diverse donors called to help build blood supply

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News release from the American Red Cross:

Diverse donors called to help build blood supply
April is Minority Health Awareness Month

(April 5, 2011) – Building a diverse blood supply is critical to meeting the medical needs of an increasingly diverse U.S. population. Donating blood during Minority Health Awareness Month this April is one way to help.

“Encouraging people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds to become blood donors is increasingly important in addressing the unique health concerns of different populations,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO for the Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross. “Everyone, regardless of their background, may depend on blood for a medical emergency.”

Recent health data from the U.S. Office of Minority Health reveals that the rates of cancer and heart disease are higher among African Americans and Hispanics than other populations. Treatment for both these health concerns can involve the use of blood products.

While blood transfusions are typically based on basic blood groups like A, B, AB and O, medical teams may also consider ethnicity when prescribing blood products. Certain rare blood types are unique to specific racial and ethnic groups, and the possibility of transfusion reactions decrease when donors and recipients share similar characteristics.

That’s why, Red Cross officials say, it’s important to build diversity among blood donors. For instance, in the Red Cross coverage area of Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, Caucasians comprise 84 percent of blood donors, while African Americans and Hispanics constitute just 6 percent. And although the majority of blood donors are Caucasian, the U.S. Census reports that more than 40 percent of the U.S. population isn’t.

“Our goal is to have a safe, ample and diverse blood supply so patients and their families have one less worry and can fully focus on getting well,” said Whitman. “We can do that best when people of all backgrounds step forward to give the gift of life.”

 

UPCOMING AMERICAN RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVES IN YOUR AREA:

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[li]Sunday, April 17, from 7:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Pathway Community Church, located at 11910 Shearwater Run in Fort Wayne.[/li]
[li]Tuesday, April 19, from 8:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. at CANI Community Action of NE Indiana, located at 227 E. Washington Blvd. in Fort Wayne. Please call 423-3546 to schedule your blood donation appointment.[/li]
[li]Tuesday, April 19, from 1 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. at Kelley Automotive, located at 633 Avenue of Autos in Fort Wayne. Please call 434-4710 to schedule your blood donation appointment.[/li]
[li]Thursday, April 21, from 2:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at Hope United Methodist Church in the Community Room, located at 6608 Hoagland Road in Hoagland. Please call 747-4719 or 639-6340 to schedule your blood donation appointment.[/li]
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Fort Wayne Donor Center located at 1212 E. California Road in Fort Wayne, (across from the Memorial Coliseum)

Traditional whole blood or double red cell donation:

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[li]Monday and Tuesday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.[/li]
[li]Wednesday and Thursday: noon – 6 p.m.[/li]
[liFriday and Saturday: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.[/li]
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Platelet pheresis donation (call 1-800-589-8127 or 260-480-8299 to schedule a platelet donation):

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[li]Monday: 6:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.[/li]
[li]Tuesday: 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.[/li]
[li]Wednesday: 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.[/li]
[li]Thursday: 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.[/li]
[li]Friday: 6:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.[/li]
[li]Saturday: 6:30 a.m. – noon[/li]
[li]Sunday: 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.[/li]
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Lutheran Hospital Donor Center located at 7900 W. Jefferson Blvd., Suite 107 in Fort Wayne (in the South Lobby of Lutheran Hospital)

Traditional whole blood or platelet pheresis donation (no platelet pheresis on Wednesdays):

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[li]Monday through Wednesday: noon – 6 p.m.[/li]
[li]Thursday through Saturday: 6 a.m. – noon[/li]
[li]Thursday, April 14 ONLY: noon – 6 p.m.[/li]
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How to Donate Blood
To schedule an appointment to donate please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org for more information. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.

About the American Red Cross
The Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region serves northern and central Indiana and northwestern Ohio, and needs to collect about 500 units of blood a day to meet patient need in more than 60 hospitals. In addition to providing blood to our community, the American Red Cross also provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.

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