People come in all different shapes, sizes and blood types. Most blood types fall into one of the four major groups: A, B, AB, O. However, some people have rare blood types that fall outside the major groups, and for these patients, we need a more diverse blood supply.
For a small percentage of the population, finding someone else with the same blood type can be as difficult as looking for a needle in a haystack. Patients who require frequent blood transfusions as part of their treatment, like those with sickle cell disease or thalassemia, can need close blood type matches to prevent these patients from developing complications from their transfusion therapy.
The best blood type match for patients with rare blood types often comes from donors of the same race or similar ethnicity.