NFL Linebacker, Markus Golden Joins Forces for an Inspiring #Donate4Diversity Blood Drive on Saturday, April 1, 2023, at Walmart Supercenter parking lot, 19501 NW 27th Ave, Miami Gardens, FL

LEXINGTON, Mass., March 31, 2023, – Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA), OneBlood, and Hemanext, a corporate partner of the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies (AABB) today announced a partnership to host the first of many blood drives to help increase the blood supply and raise awareness around the importance of diversity in the blood donor pool. The event will be Saturday, April 1, 2023, at the Walmart Supercenter parking lot, 19501 NW 27th Ave., Miami Gardens, FL, from 10:00am to 5:00pm.  Those who are interested in participating can click here to register to donate.

Blood donor diversity plays a crucial role in saving lives and maintaining a healthy blood supply. However, the diversity of the donor pool may often be limited, which can result in a shortage of blood that is compatible with certain racial and ethnic groups, such as those affected by sickle cell disease (SCD).1 Today, there aren’t enough blood donors to help meet this urgent need. African American individuals make up 13% of the U.S. population, but less than 3% of blood donors.2 Only 2% of all blood donors are a match for a sickle cell patient3, however 1 in 3 African American blood donors are a match for a sickle cell patient.4 This emphasizes the significance of having a diverse donor pool, as it can greatly increase the potential for successful transfusions for patients with SCD.5

“We are thrilled to collaborate on this upcoming blood drive with the local SCDAA chapter, OneBlood and Hemanext. At SCDAA, we understand the vital importance of diversifying the blood donor pool, and I encourage the Miami Gardens community to come and donate. By doing so, they will be playing an essential role in helping patients battling chronic conditions who require transfusions, such as SCD warriors,” said Regina Hartfield, President, and CEO of SCDAA.

NFL linebacker, Markus Golden said, “As a SCDAA Celebrity Ambassador, I look for opportunities to help bring attention to sickle cell disease which affects many families, including my own. I have been involved with the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats initiative to shine a light on this disease and the #Donate4Diversity Blood drive is another way to do just that.  I hope I have an impact on the turnout for this event and boost the number of donors from this community to help those in need of rare blood. We can make such a difference when we work together.”

Rodney Harris, Mayor of Miami Gardens, FL, shared, “The city of Miami Gardens is committed to supporting public health initiatives that not only benefits our residents but all people. I am happy to see that there are efforts being put forth to address this issue and that we can be a part of the solution especially when it can help a community like ours who is heavily burdened by sickle cell disease. It is my hope that this event will have a great turnout and that this is the first of many blood drives like this in our area.”

David Green, MSA, AABB’s ambassador to the Corporate Partner Program, reiterated AABB’s support. “We are pleased to see that Hemanext, an AABB Premium Corporate Partner, is helping to ensure the strength and stability of the blood supply by sponsoring blood drives. AABB supports initiatives that ensure the continued availability of blood for patients in need and help to increase diversity in the blood donor pool.”

“At OneBlood, we receive a high volume of requests each day for uncommon and rare blood, most of which are for African American patients with sickle cell disease.  Finding a match for these patients can be challenging and for some cases, we have to screen over 1,000 donors to find one compatible unit.  This event marks an important step in our quest to increase and diversify the blood supply.  Bringing these organizations together that are committed to improving transfusions in a united front will have a greater impact than trying to address this issue alone. We look forward to continuing this collaboration and additional blood drives this year,” said George “Bud” Scholl, President and CEO of OneBlood.

Martin Cannon, CEO of Hemanext, said, “Hemanext is dedicated to improving transfusion therapy and we are always seeking ways to achieve our mission of safer transfusions and healthier patients.  Since transfusions rely upon a robust blood supply through donors, it aligns with our goals to help support solutions to address unmet needs in this area. We recognize the urgent need in blood donation and are grateful to have the chance to work alongside SCDAA, OneBlood, and AABB to help bridge the gap in blood donation diversity.  It is important to partner with these industry and community leaders and to be a part of the evolution of advancements in the field as we continue to strive for safer transfusions.

About Hemanext

Hemanext is a privately held medical technology company based in Lexington, MA, that is dedicated to improving the quality, safety, efficacy, and cost of transfusion therapy. The company’s research and development efforts center on the study of hypoxically stored red blood cells (RBCs). The company’s aim is to significantly improve the quality of stored RBCs. No Hemanext product is currently cleared or approved by the FDA for commercial use in the United States.

Visit to learn more about the Company.


  1. AABB News: diverse donor pool saves lives. News release. AABB Newsfeed. March 14, 2022. Accessed February 10, 2023.
  2. Why are African American blood donations important? American Red Cross. Accessed February 10, 2023.
  3. What are the rarest and most common blood types? Medical News today. Accessed February 20, 2023.
  4. Why are African American blood donations important? American Red Cross. Accessed February 10, 2023.
  5. AABB News: diverse donor pool saves lives. News release. AABB Newsfeed. March 14, 2022. Accessed February 10, 2023.

Hemanext Media Contact:

Stacy Smith
Director of Global Marketing Communications

OneBlood Media Contact:

Susan Forbes
Senior VP, Corporate Communications & Public Relations