African-Americans Commit for Life
African-Americans Commit for Life is a part of Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center's Diversity Commit for Life Program. It is The Blood Center's goal to diversify the current donor base to help a unique segment of our community.
Life-saving donations from these diverse communities help patients like Paul.
No one exemplifies patient blood needs better than Paul. Diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia as a baby, Paul has received blood transfusions all his life. Thanks to blood donors, Paul is in college and fulfilling his dreams of becoming a music producer and businessman.
Why should African-Americans Commit for Life?
Less than 5 percent of the community donates blood. Of that percentage, only 10 percent are African-American. There is a great need for more African-American blood donors. Patients with conditions like Sickle Cell Anemia often rely on donors of the same race or ethnicity to provide specially matched blood, so donations are especially important in this community.
Additionally, the Texas Gulf Coast as a whole requires more than 1,000 blood donations every day to help those in need, including individuals undergoing surgery, patients battling cancer and even premature babies that must receive blood to gain strength.
Individuals who Commit for Life are essential to meeting this general need, since it is the blood on the shelf that helps save lives. Every blood donation helps save as many as three lives.
Why are donations by African-Americans important?
Every blood donation is important, as each donation can help save up to three lives. Individuals with illnesses like Sickle Cell Anemia depend on regular transfusion therapy to continue living active, healthy lives. Because African-American blood donors may provide the best match for individuals with Sickle Cell Anemia, those donors are encouraged to Commit for Life and donate on an ongoing basis to meet patient needs.
Why is it important for sickle cell patients to receive matched blood?
Sickle cell patients should receive transfusions that are optimally matched to their own blood, or else they are at an increased risk for further complications. In the United States, one in 12 African-Americans has the sickle cell trait, and one in 400 African-American newborns has sickle cell disease. Patients with the disease may need 15 to 25 blood transfusions each year.
Can I donate blood if I have the sickle cell trait?
Persons with the sickle cell trait should not donate red cells, but are welcome to give platelets or plasma.