“Even as we all take the necessary steps to remain safe and healthy, many are still dealing with chronic conditions, and they need our help as well,” said Tarver. “Many people from communities of color are in need of assistance, and we must continue to participate in humanitarian efforts, helping those in need.”
Tarver is encouraging healthy individuals to schedule appointments to donate blood for patients who still rely on transfusions, ensuring that blood remains readily available during this uncertain time. During the pandemic, the number of African Americans donating blood with the Red Cross has decreased by more than half, ultimately due to blood drive cancellations in communities across the country and the disproportionate COVID-19 infection rates for African Americans nationwide.
African-American blood donors are vital for many African-American patients with rare blood types, like those with sickle cell disease, who depend on blood that must be matched very closely to reduce the risk of complications.
“Those with sickle cell and other diseases who rely on blood transfusions are subjugated to a number of unpleasant effects that we all can play a role in mitigating,” said Tarver. “I ask those that are able to schedule an appointment to donate blood, each donation has the potential to save lives.”
Individuals looking to donate can attend upcoming blood drives or schedule appointments weeks and months in advance by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).