WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Area leaders held a summit Saturday morning to discuss the importance of having a blood bank full of diverse donors.
According to the American Red Cross, the best blood match for patients often comes from donors of similar race or ethnicity.
Some blood types are unique to specific ethnic groups. For example, blood types like U-negative and Duffy-negative are only found in African American communities.
Community and faith leaders from the Latino and African American communities met at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church Saturday morning to enjoy lunch and talk about the importance of increasing the number of blood donors from all racial groups. The hope of the summit was to encourage groups across New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender Counties to host more blood drives to meet the growing needs of the community.
The summit featured speeches from local politicians, medical experts, a cancer survivor and father of a child that requires donor blood for sickle cell disease.
Research released by the American Red Cross says building the diverse donor base is especially important for people who suffer genetic conditions that need regular blood transfusions. Sickle cell disease is the most common genetic blood disease in the US and 98 percent of people with the condition are of African American decent. Patients must be carefully matched with donors and face a lifetime of blood transfusions.
Donors interested in helping can schedule an appointment on the Blood Donor App, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS