The American Red Cross has launched an initiative to grow the number of blood donors who are Black to help patients with sickle cell disease, an enduring and often invisible health disparity in the U.S.
More than 100,000 people in the U.S. have sickle cell disease, the most common inherited blood disorder, and the majority of patients are of African descent. Despite the discovery of the disease more than a century ago, there have been fewer health resources available to help those currently suffering from sickle cell crisis in comparison to similar diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with sickle cell disease experience worse health outcomes than comparable diseases.
Many patients with sickle cell disease will require regular blood transfusions to help manage their disease. Unfortunately, these patients may develop an immune response against blood from donors that are not closely matched to their own. Many individuals who are Black have distinct markers on their red blood cells that make their donations ideal for helping patients with sickle cell disease. More than half of blood donors who are Black have blood that is free of C, E and K antigens, making them the best match for those with sickle cell disease.
Donors can schedule a blood donation appointment at RedCrossBlood.org, by downloading the Blood Donor App or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. All donors who come to give with the Red Cross Sept. 13-30 will receive a limited-edition football-themed T-shirt, while supplies last.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
Sept. 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 154 W. Washington St. in Warsaw.
Sept. 22 from 1:45 to 6 p.m. at Nelson Lions Club, 206 Marshall St. in Nelson.
Sept. 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Elks Laurie, 174 Elks Ln. in Laurie.
Sept. 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1531 N. Vansant Road in Clinton.
Sept. 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1531 N. Vansant Road in Clinton.