African-American blood donors needed to help address shortage

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State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) is calling on healthy, eligible African-Americans in Illinois to help replenish the state’s blood supply, which is declining rapidly due to blood drive cancellations at businesses, churches and schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

African-American blood donors are particularly needed to help patients battling sickle cell disease amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Sickle cell patients are at high risk of serious complications from coronavirus infection.

“For the Black community, this is another layer to our public health emergency. Sickle cell disease tends to affect African-American communities, which are disproportionately suffering from COVID-19 and already lack equal access to preventative health care and treatment,” Hunter said. “Even one donation could save the life of someone in our community.”

Patients with sickle cell disease depend on transfusions from donors with closely matched blood – beyond the A, B, O and AB types – to reduce the risk of complications.

“This is a matter of life or death for patients with sickle cell disease and those who rely on transfusions to make it through surgery,” Hunter said. “Now is the time to support our neighbors. I strongly encourage all healthy, able Chicagoans to step up and help fill this void.”

Many blood centers throughout the state have extended their operating hours to meet the critical need for donations.

To make an appointment to donate blood with the Red Cross, residents can visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 800-733-2767.

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