American Red Cross
Northern California Coastal Region
Media Contact: Cari Dighton
Rare AB Negative Blood Donor Reached Donation Milestone on May 14
OAKLAND, Calif., May 19, 2021 — On May 14, the Northern California Coastal Region of the American Red Cross recognized long-time blood donor Arthur Maxwell as he donated his 400th unit of blood, which brought him to a lifetime total of 50 gallons.
Staff and volunteers at the Red Cross Blood, Platelet and Plasma Donation Center in Oakland, California presented Maxwell with a 50-gallon donor pin marking this huge accomplishment, which few donors across the U.S. have achieved.
Maxwell’s journey as a blood donor began two decades ago when a nurse practitioner told him that he had a very rare blood type, AB negative. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a transfusion of red blood cells, but not just any blood will do. Less than 1% of the U.S. population has AB negative blood, making it the least common blood type among Americans. Yet, donors with type AB can provide plasma to all blood types.
“I'm trying to do something that matches my blood type - a rare feat," Maxwell said. "It's one thing to have a rare blood type, but it doesn't mean anything unless you do something with it."
For more facts about blood and blood types, please visit redcrossblood.org.
The Red Cross urges both new and long-time donors to give during Trauma Awareness Month in May. Type O blood donors, type AB plasma donors and platelet donors are especially needed. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations. Type AB plasma can be given to patients of any blood type to help maintain blood pressure and supply critical proteins for clotting and immunity.
While no one can predict when an accident might happen, donors can help hospitals stay prepared and stocked with blood products. Donors are encouraged to be someone’s lifesaver and schedule a donation appointment now. If a donor is eligible and feeling well, they can make an appointment by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Safety is a priority for everyone, including the Red Cross. Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control. To ensure the health of staff and donors, precautions include:
- Checking temperatures of staff and donors before entering a drive to make sure they are healthy.
- Providing hand sanitizer for use before entering the drives, as well as throughout the donation process.
- Following social distancing between donors including entry, donation and refreshment areas.
- Ensuring face masks are worn by both staff and donors.
- Routinely disinfecting surfaces, equipment and donor-touched areas.
- Wearing gloves and changing gloves often.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.