Meet Khalil

Sharing diverse, remarkable, and inspiring real-life stories is what the I am OneBlood movement is all about.

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Do You Have a Rare Blood Type?

Each of us is unique. We all have our own set of distinct characteristics, backgrounds, and blood types. The majority of blood types fall into these groups: A, B, AB, O. However, because we are all different, some people have rare blood types, in addition to the four main groups.

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Rare Blood Types and Diversity

Finding compatible blood for patients with rare blood types is like finding a needle in a haystack. Blood diversity all comes down to genetics and antigens.

Genetics and Antigens

Antigens play a significant role in blood donation, particularly with the compatibility and matching of blood types between donors and patients. Compatibility between the donor's blood and the patient’s blood is crucial to avoid adverse reactions when the transfused blood interacts with the patient’s immune system. Mismatched blood transfusions can trigger a severe immune response that can be harmful or even fatal.

There are more than 600 known antigens besides A and B. Certain blood types are unique to specific racial and ethnic groups. The only way to find specially matched blood for these patients is to increase the diversity of the donor population.

Ethnic GroupRare Blood Type
African-AmericanU-, Fy (a-b-)
Native American, Alaskan NativeRzRz
Pacific Island, AsianJk (a-b-)
HispanicDi (b-)
East European/Russian JewsDr (a-)
CaucasianKp (b-), Vel-
Zainab Drawing


Zainab’s Story

Zainab has some of the rarest blood in the world. She is missing a common antigen called “Indian B” (Inb). Because she is missing the antigen, she can only receive blood from people who are also missing the same antigen.

Only five compatible donors for Zainab were found—two from the United States, two from the United Kingdom, and one from Australia.

Rare Blood Facts

Blood cannot be manufactured outside the body and has a limited shelf life. The supply must constantly be replenished by generous blood donors.

Sickle Cell

Sickle cell disease affects 1 out of every 365 Black or African-American births.

Reference Lab

Our Reference Lab uses the latest technologies to match unique donors to unique recipients.

Units of Blood

People with sickle cell disease may need as many as 100 units of blood each year.

Ethnicity and Sickle Cell

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that primarily affects people of African ancestry. Many sickle cell patients require frequent blood transfusions and, in most cases, blood from other African-Americans will be the perfect match. One in three African-American blood donors are a match for people with sickle cell disease.

However, less than 5% of African-Americans donate blood. That makes finding compatible blood for sickle cell patients a major challenge. 


Making an Impact

There are many patients who have extraordinarily rare blood needs. These individuals often require blood transfusions that are perfectly matched to their unique antigen pattern. Read their stories and see how you can make an impact by donating blood.