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Campaign seeks more black blood donors

Blacks are being urged to donate more blood in a trial campaign to fill constantly short supplies of blood types more common among blacks than whites.

The "For the Love of Us" campaign began last weekend, sponsored by Fenwal Inc., a blood-bank equipment maker in Deerfield, Ill. Centered in Mobile, the $150,000 campaign will run throughout the Gulf Coast, from Mississippi to Pensacola, and move to Atlanta in August.

The campaign will be waged through direct mail, churches, community programs and news reports. If successful, it will expand to other urban centers.

The campaign was conceived because demand for blood often exceeds the supply in metropolitan areas with largely black populations, said Fenwal's Karen Schuetz. She cited a survey that found 42 percent of whites have donated blood at least once compared with 34 percent of blacks.

Shortages of types O and B are routine in many places, as a result.

While the blood of blacks and whites alike fall into eight major blood types _ O, A, B, AB and positive and negatives of each _ the ratio in their respective populations isn't the same.