Diseases like sickle cell anemia require rare blood traits that demand diversity within our blood supply. Increasing African American donations is vital because blood types O and B, the blood types of about 70% of African Americans, are also the blood types most in demand.

African American blood donors are also more likely to be a match for most people living with sickle cell disease, which makes them the perfect donors to help sickle cell patients in need of routine or emergency blood transfusions. African American blood donations are crucial to ensure the closest blood matching for successful blood transfusion outcomes.

We are always in need of diversifying Indiana’s daily blood supply. We are also constantly encouraging everyone who can to donate life-saving blood on a regular basis. The need for blood donations now is especially important. Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Hospitals throughout Indiana rely on blood donations for surgery patients, trauma victims and those battling a variety of diseases.

It's also summertime, a time when we see a sharp decline in blood donations. Throughout the academic year, we rely heavily on high school and college students for 30% of our blood supply. But when school’s out, there are no high school or college blood drives.

Donating blood is easy and only takes about an hour. Anyone age 17 or older in good health who meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to give; parental consent is required for donors age 16 to donate blood.

People need people. Please help save lives and help diversify our blood supply by becoming a blood donor. We are truly stronger together.

Dr. Charles Miraglia, Indianapolis

President, Versiti Blood Center of Indiana