Nashville, TN – 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 faced by many.
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.
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,” says Clif Redish, interim regional donor services executive. “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%.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities September 14th-30th:
9/16/2022: 9:00am – 3:00pm, Soldier and Family Assistance Center, 2433 Indiana Avenue
9/19/2022: 1:00pm – 6:00pm, Ashland City Church of Christ, 110 Cumberland Street
9/20/2022: 1:00pm – 6:00pm, Cheap Hill Church of Christ, 2834 Highway 12 North
9/13/2022: 1:00pm – 7:00pm, The Livery Stables, 1104 Main Street
9/8/2022: 12:30pm – 5:30pm, Dickson Cumberland Presbyterian, 500 Hwy 70 East
9/19/2022: 3:00pm – 7:00pm, YMCA Dickson, 301 Henslee Drive
9/5/2022: 9:00am – 2:00pm, White Bluff Church of Christ, 4416 Hwy 70
9/23/2022: 1:30pm – 5:30pm, Waverly United Methodist Church, 115 West Main Street
9/12/2022: 10:30am – 4:30pm, American Red Cross, 1760 Madison Street
9/14/2022: 10:30am – 4:30pm, American Red Cross, 1760 Madison Street
9/19/2022: 10:30am – 4:30pm, American Red Cross, 1760 Madison Street
9/21/2022: 10:30am – 4:30pm, American Red Cross, 1760 Madison Street
9/26/2022: 10:30am – 4:30pm, American Red Cross, 1760 Madison Street
9/27/2022: 2:30pm – 7:30pm, East Montgomery Elementary School, 230 McAdoo Creek Road
9/28/2022: 10:30am – 4:30pm, American Red Cross, 1760 Madison Street
9/21/2022: 3:00pm – 7:00pm, Greenbrier First Baptist Church, Hwy 41
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, or 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, and 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 comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families.
The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission.