Diverse donor base critical for adequate blood supply

February is Black History Month, and in the spirit of Dr. Charles Drew, the first medical director of an American Red Cross blood bank, the Red Cross reminds eligible donors of the importance of a diverse blood supply.Patients are less likely to have complications from blood donated by someone with the same ethnicity. Prior to transfusion, blood type and Rh factor are matched. Oftentimes additional red cell markers in donated blood must be matched as well. Such markers are determined by ethnicity and best found in a diverse donor base.Donors of all types are encouraged to roll up a sleeve and help save lives. Appointments to give blood can be made by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visiting redcrossblood.org.Upcoming blood donation opportunities:Custer CountyFeb. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Community Center, 202 W. Kimball in CallawayGreeley CountyFeb. 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Spalding City Auditorium, St. Joseph Avenue in SpaldingHoward CountyFeb. 10 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. Paul Methodist Church, 1320 Baxter St. in St. PaulFeb. 12 from 12-6 p.m. at St. Libory Elementary School, 435 St. Paul Road in St. LiboryHow to donate bloodSimply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.