Observe National Sickle Cell Awareness Month by donating blood

The American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to help ensure a stable and diverse blood supply by giving blood in honor of National Sickle Cell Awareness Month in September.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited disease that causes red blood cells to form an abnormal crescent shape. It is estimated that sickle cell disease affects as many as 100,000 people in the U.S. Many of these patients face a lifetime of blood transfusions to help reduce the risk of stroke, damage to major organs and other complications that can arise as a result of sickle cell disease.

Since blood from donors of the same ethnic background as the recipient is less likely to cause complications, the Red Cross must maintain a diverse blood supply. This is particularly important for patients like those with sickle cell disease who may require regular blood transfusions.

To help increase donations during the month of September, those who come out to donate blood or platelets throughout the month will receive a coupon by email for a free haircut at participating Sport Clips locations.

Details: Visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Arkansas County

Sept. 10 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansasas, 2807 Hwy. 165 S. in Stuttgart.

Jefferson County

Sept. 15 from 1 - 5 p.m. at American Red Cross Blood Center, 1610 W. 42nd St. in Pine Bluff

Lincoln County

Sept. 9 from 1:30 - 6:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 200 W. Wiley in Star City.