Grand Rapids blood drive will honor Juneteenth

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There will be a blood drive in Grand Rapids in honor of Juneteenth.

Versiti Blood Center of Michigan will be hosting a blood drive on June 19 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Baxter Community Center, located at 935 Baxter St SE.

The blood drive is to honor Juneteenth, a day that celebrates when news of the Emancipation Proclamation — signed in 1862 — reached all parts of the country on June 19, 1865. The day is considered independence day for African Americans.

The day also lands on world sickle cell awareness day. Sickle cell disease most often found in African American and Hispanic communities. The blood disease is found in one in every 365 African Americans, and one in every 16,300 Hispanic Americans, Versiti said in a Wednesday release.

Those who have sickle cell disease often need blood transfusions with the rare Ro blood type. Only 4% of Versiti donors have the blood type, it said, and it’s most commonly found in African Americans and Hispanics.

The organization hopes the Juneteenth blood drive will create a more diverse blood supply. While a goal of the drive is to get more Ro blood, people with all blood types are invited to donate.

For more information and to sign up, go to versiti.org.

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