Celebrate Black History Month with the American Red Cross this February!

January 11, 2012


LANSING, Mich. – January 12, 2012 – The American Red Cross is celebrating blood donors and Black History Month by encouraging eligible donors of all backgrounds to make an appointment to donate blood this February.


From organizing blood drives to donating blood, African Americans make unique contributions to America’s blood supply. More than 50 percent of people of African descent have type O blood. About 20 percent of African Americans also have type B blood, which is higher than other populations. Several rare blood types are also particular to the African American community.


Post-transfusion complications can decrease when patients receive blood from donors of the same ethnic background. And that, Red Cross officials say, is important in cases when a patient needs blood every few weeks to help treat serious diseases like sickle cell.


Di’Juarie “DJ” Jordan, a 10 year-old from Jackson, MI, knows all too well about the importance of blood donation.  DJ was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at the age of three months.  Because she needs a blood transfusion once every three months, Jordan and her mother, Symone Surratt are doing their part to help raise awareness on the disease and benefits of donating blood.


“There’s a lot of people who say, ‘I’m not going to donate because I have other things to do,’” Jordan said.  “But, people who are going through treatments have other things to do too.”


DJ’s disease doesn’t define her.  It doesn’t stop her.  She doesn’t dwell on it.  She’s more focused on helping others.


“She is such a strong girl who just wants to raise awareness,” Surratt said.  “She and I both know that if it weren’t for the kindness of strangers, these volunteer blood donors, my daughter would not be able to get the transfusions she needs to help fight this disease.”


For more information on blood and platelet donation or to schedule a donation time, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).