JONESBORO, Ark. (Sept. 7, 2022) - During Sickle Cell Awareness Month in September, the American Red Cross emphasizes the importance of a diverse blood supply to help meet the needs of those with sickle cell disease - the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S.

Sickle cell disease impacts more than 100,000 people across the country, most of whom are of African descent. Regular blood transfusions are critical to managing extreme pain and life-threatening complications face by many. Unfortunately, they may develop an immune response against blood from donors that is not closely matched to their own. However, because most individuals who are Black have unique structures on their red blood cells that are not often found in other donor populations, 1 in 3 African American blood donors is a match for people with sickle cell disease.

Seasonal changes can trigger pain crises for those battling sickle cell - possibly increasing the need for lifesaving blood transfusions. As summer ends, book a time to give blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). As a thank-you, all who come to give through Sept. 18 will get an exclusive Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

Life-threatening complications
Sickle cell disease distorts soft, round blood cells and turns them hard and crescent-shaped, which can cause severe pain. "When cells harden, they can get caught in blood vessels, potentially leading to stroke and organ failure," said Dr. Emily Coberly, Chief Medical Officer, Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas. "Transfusions provide healthy blood cells, unblocking blood vessels and delivering oxygen, minimizing crises patients with sickle cell may face."


Joined by Blood
To help ensure patients have the blood products they need, the American Red Cross is working with partners in the Black community to grow the number of blood donors who are Black through the sickle cell initiative, which launched in 2021. In the first year of the initiative, the number of first-time African American blood donors who gave with the Red Cross increased by 60%. In September and October, the Red Cross launches Joined by Blood, a fall component of the initiative where the Red Cross is teaming up with community organizations, like the National Pan-Hellenic Council and others, to host blood drives and inspire donors who are Black to give blood to support patients with sickle cell disease. To learn more, visit RedCrossBlood.org/OurBlood.





Upcoming blood donation opportunities Sept 7-30:
 

 

Greene County
Paragould
  • 9/13/2022: 12:30pm-4:30pm, Browns Chapel Baptist Church, 3800 S Rockingchair Road

Craighead County

Jonesboro

  • 9/7/2022: 9:30am-3:30pm, Westside High School, 1630 Hwy 91 North
  • 9/21/2022: 11am-4pm, Arkansas State University, 101 North Caraway, Centennial Ballroom
  • 9/22/2022: 11am-4pm, Arkansas State University, 101 North Caraway, Centennial Ballroom
  • 9/23/2022: 9am-2pm, NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital, 4800 East Johnson
  • 9/27/2022: 10am-2pm, Earl Bell Community Center, 1212 S Church
Lake City
  • 9/8/2022: 9am-2pm, Riverside High School, 2007 Highway 18

Clay County
Corning

  • 9/7/2022: 9am-2pm, Corning High School, 500 Bobcat Lane
Rector
  • 9/12/2022: 1:30pm-5:30pm, Rector Community Center, 740 East 9th Street

Cross County
Wynne
  • 9/16/2022: 8:30am-2:30pm, Wynne High School, 800 East Jackson

Poinsett County
Harrisburg
  • 9/27/2022: 1pm-5pm, Harrisburg Community Center, 203 West South St
Lepanto
  • 9/15/2022: 9am-1pm, East Poinsett High School, 502 McClellan

Randolph County
Pocahontas
  • 9/13/2022: 9am-1pm, East Poinsett High School, 502 McClellan

Mississippi County
Blytheville
  • 9/7/2022: 9am-2pm, Blytheville High School, 600 North 10th Street
  • 9/24/2022: 10am-3pm, Pilgrim Rest M.B. Church, 809 East Main
Osceola
  • 9/19/2022: 11am-4pm, First Baptist Church, 2900 West Keiser Avenue

Sharp County
Hardy
  • 9/13/2022: 1pm-5pm, Hardy Civic Center, 301 East Main Street

Testing for sickle cell trait
At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease. Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.

How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% 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.

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