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DES MOINES, Iowa– Friday, a local nonprofit is hosting a blood drive at Corinthians Baptist Church where they are targeting Black donors. 

The president of Black Women 4 Healthy Living, Brandi Miler, said there is a sickle cell crisis in Black communities and if people of color donate more blood, it goes a long way with helping those with the disease. 

“What I think that, I hope that, it will do for the community is bring us together. It’s an opportunity for us to support one another in a real tangible way,” Miller said. 

According to the CDC, about one in 13 Black people in the US are born with the sickle cell trait and one out of every 365 African-Americans have the disease. 

American Red Cross states that Black blood donors are vital for many patients with rare blood types, who depend on blood that must be matched very closely, beyond the A, B, O, and AB blood types to reduce the risk of complications.

The humanitarian organization reports since mid-March of last year, the number of African Americans donating blood has dropped by more than half. 

American Red Cross believes this low donor turnout is largely due to blood drive cancellations at businesses, churches, and schools and the disproportionate COVID-19 infection rates for African Americans compared to other ethnicities. 

Without proper blood transfusion, those with sickle cell can experience major problems with their organs that can be fatal. 

A registered nurse and board member for Black Women 4 Healthy Living, Angela Bolden said as a group that advocates for people of color, they wanted to bring more awareness around the disease to the community. 

“This is a life changing thing. This is something that’s very important,” Bolden said.  “And because with COVID going on and we’re feeling the vaccine sale we’re just trying to better take care of the community so we’re healthy enough to actually come together.” 

The blood drive will be held Friday at Corinthian Baptist Church at 814 School Street in Des Moines from 12-4 p.m. To sign up to be a donor, visit the American Red Cross website