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WBAL is reporting that the Red Cross is asking African-Americans to donate blood to fight Sickle Cell Anemia.

The Red Cross has started the Blue Tag program to encourage donors — specifically blacks — to give blood for sickle cell patients.

“It’s critically important that the blood be the closest match possible for you, and like anything else — your hair color, your eye color, etc. — blood is a genetic factor, and we’re most likely to find a close match among people of the same ethnic group,” said Katie Turner of the Red Cross.

Sickle cell disease is prevalent in blacks. Up to 80,000 black people in the United States suffer from it, according to the Red Cross.

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