Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities

Hannah: first time blood donorWe need donors from all communities and ethnic backgrounds to donate blood so we can meet the needs of all patients in England. Black, Asian and minority ethnic donors are specifically needed because:

  • patients who receive frequent blood transfusions need blood to be closely matched to their own
  • a number of blood conditions, like sickle cell and thalassaemia which are treated through blood transfusions, most commonly affect people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities
  • the best match typically comes from blood donors from the same ethnic background.

Suki sitting in grass smilingSuki was diagnosed with sickle cell at birth. By the time she was nine months old she had already had two terrifying sickle cell episodes, known as crisis.

After the second crisis the doctors put her on monthly blood transfusions. Without them her organs would have shut down.

Read Suki's full story.

Thalassaemia and sickle cell

Thalassaemia mainly affects people with a South Asian or Mediterranean heritage, and sickle cell mainly affects people with Black African or Black Caribbean backgrounds.

It is estimated that 1,000 people in the UK have thalassaemia, and between 13,000-15,000 people in the UK have sickle cell.

Patients with these disorders need regular blood transfusions to stay alive. They benefit from donations from blood donors from a similar ethnic background. Find out more about the need for donors of Black heritage.

If you have the sickle cell trait you can still become a blood donor. 

Some rare blood types are only found within the Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

Become a blood donor, book an appointment near you and give blood. 

Giving blood

While people from all communities and backgrounds do give blood, fewer than 5% of our blood donors who gave blood in the last year were from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, despite representing around 14% of the population. We want to try and readdress this balance.

Register to be a blood donor and give blood. Find out how donated blood changes lives

We also need more organ and stem cell donors.

Become a blood donor

Sign up

Coronavirus information