(WKBN) – Giving blood can save a life, and it’s important to have a diverse blood supply

This is National Minority Health Month. The American Red Cross is raising awareness about health disparities that disproportionately affect racially and ethnically diverse populations. It’s encouraging minorities to donate blood and maintain a diverse supply.

Everyone’s blood is the same, but minorities have the unique ability to help sickle cell patients specifically.

“We all know our A, B and O blood types, but there are some markers in our blood that are a little more specific than that and those are more matched more closely through ethnicity,” said Sabrina Spikes, Red Cross district manager. ” If you’re someone that’s receiving frequent blood transfusions, we want to make sure that that blood is more of a direct match.”

Everybody’s blood gets tested, but those specific markers can be identified to match blood more closely for people in unique situations.

You can find a blood drive in your community on the Red Cross website. Just put in your zip code and you can find a location closest to you.