Need for diverse blood donors - | WBTV Charlotte

Need for diverse blood donors

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Take a look this donation center in Charlotte.

This is a typical day of operations for the American Red Cross.

But if you look closely you will notice something is missing, minority and African American donors.

"African Americans make up about 13 percent of the population but we only represent about one percent of the donors," said volunteer with the American Red Cross, Tomeka Bostic.

"Our community just has a lack of knowledge of the importance of diversity donors."

Blood from a donor with a similar ethnic background to that of the patient is less likely to be rejected or cause illness and complications, such as patients with sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder common among African-Americans."

Helping is easy as walking to you local donation center.

That's the message the American Red Cross wants to get out.

And you can start by spreading the word to family members and encouraging them to donate.

"If you start bringing your children your relatives to functions such as these than it's going to become more common," said Tomeka.

The minority drive will take place this Saturday, February 2, 2013, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the American Red Cross Charlotte Donation Center located at 2425 Park Rd.

To donate, call (800) 733-2767 or go to redcrossblood.org.

A blood donor card or driver's license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

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