Infographic – Blood Donors and Diversity

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 example, blood donors who are Black play a critical role to help ensure patients with sickle cell disease have continued access to the treatments they need. You can make a difference in the life of someone with sickle cell disease.

Black donors are more likely to be deferred due to low hemoglobin. This deferral is temporary and is to help protect the health of both the donor and the recipient. To help avoid a blood donation deferral due to low hemoglobin, the Red Cross recommends that individuals who have low iron levels begin preparing for their blood donations six to eight weeks prior to their appointment. This is because it can take several weeks for the body to absorb iron. We encourage anyone interested in donating blood to consult with their healthcare provider about taking multivitamins with 18 mg of iron. In addition, eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet with foods rich in iron and in vitamin C helps to maintain healthy iron levels.

Make your appointment.

Critical need for African American blood donors

Hi Everyone,

We want to let you know that the American Red Cross has a critical need for African American blood donors to help patients, especially those battling sickle cell disease, following a significant decrease in diverse donors in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic environment.

Across the nation since mid-March, the number of African Americans donating blood with the Red Cross has dropped by more than half. This low donor turnout is largely due to blood drive cancellations at businesses, churches and schools and the disproportionate COVID-19 infection rates for African Americans compared to other ethnicities.

Despite the steep decline in blood donations, the need for blood products for patients with sickle cell disease has remained relatively steady.

So, we’re reaching out to partners, community influencers, organizations, and YOU! for support that could help raise awareness about the need for diverse blood donors, especially African American blood donors during this COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, we’re encouraging eligible donors from communities of color to keep their scheduled donation appointments and to look for open appointments at, especially in the weeks ahead as blood drives are added.

Thank you! 😘

¡Muchas Gracias Viviana!

Thanks to Red Cross worker Viviana Sotro thousands of people in Minnesota’s diverse communities are safer and better prepared for emergencies here in Minnesota.

This month way say “adios amiga” to our friend and co-worker Viviana Sotro who has accepted an executive director position at a local Latino family organization.

For twelve years, Sotro has provided emergency preparedness education to thousands of people across the Minneapolis-St.Paul metro area. In the Latino community alone, she has reached around 10,000 people with safety & preparedness education, which she believes is worthwhile. “I can say, yes, preparedness education makes a difference. I can see it on their faces. They say, now I know.”

Trained as a Red Cross EMT in Argentina, Sotro has long understood that diverse communities in Minnesota might need to learn about being safe during severe weather and other emergencies. “I could relate to them because most people from Latin countries have never experienced tornadoes.” In 2002, Sotro joined the Red Cross in Minnesota as a volunteer and the following year she accepted a staff position. Later, she became the community outreach manager guiding staff and volunteers in their work teaching people from Africa, Asia, and Latin America who now make Minnesota their home. “I really like to be respectful of other cultures. Everyone has something unique to appreciate.”

Although Sotro is departing her Red Cross job, she plans to continue being involved as a volunteer. Her hope, she says, is that diverse community engagement with the Red Cross increases. “I would like to see more Latinos wearing Red Cross t-shirts as volunteers.” She would especially like to see more people from diverse communities become Red Cross instructors, disaster relief workers, and good samaritans trained in CPR & First Aid.

Thank you, Viviana, for being a part of the Red Cross and helping to fulfill our mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering. We wish you and your family the very best.

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