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A blood donation is collected during an American Red Cross blood drive on Aug. 5 at the Huntington Mall. The Red Cross needs people of all races and ethnicities to give blood to help ensure a blood supply as diverse as the patients who depend on it.

CHARLESTON — The American Red Cross needs people of all races and ethnicities to give blood to help ensure a blood supply as diverse as the patients who depend on it.

For a small percentage of the population, finding someone else with the same blood type can be difficult. While the vast majority of people have types A, B, O or AB blood, some blood types are unique to certain racial and ethnic groups, so a diverse blood supply is important to meeting the medical needs of a diverse patient population. Patients who require frequent blood transfusions as part of their treatment, like those with sickle cell disease or other lifelong blood disorders, often need close blood type matches to prevent complications from their transfusion therapy.

All blood types are needed to ensure that the right blood product is available at the right time for all patients.

Make an appointment to donate by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 800-REDCROSS (800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

Blood drives are also essential in helping ensure blood is available for patients this winter. To learn more and sign up to host a blood drive this fall or winter, visit RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.