African American patients need you

Be the MatchWhen people need blood transfusion or bone marrow, the best match comes from someone within their own ethnic group.

While donations from all ethnic groups are critical, there is a specific need for African-American donors. Currently, less than 2% of African-Americans give blood, and only 7% of the Be the Match® Registry is comprised of potential African American bone marrow donors.

The right marrow match can save the life of someone suffering from an illness such as leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell, and it is often a patient’s last chance for survival.

Seventy percent of patients can’t find this match within their family and are forced to turn to the Be the Match® Registry with crossed fingers. When a Caucasian patient turns to the registry, they have a 93% chance match.  When an African American patient turns to the registry, however, their odds decrease to 66%.

As an initiative to diversify the blood supply and National Marrow Donor Program’s Be the Match® Registry,   Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has joined Michigan Blood and several organizations throughout the state to host “I’ll be There,” a community drive with free health screenings, food, entertainment, children’s activities, contents and prizes.

Those who attempt to donate blood will receive a special t-shirt as a thank you gift. The event will be held at Ottawa Hills High School (2055 Rosewood Avenue, Grand Rapids) on Saturday, October 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Photo Credit: Be the Match® Registry

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