Many patients need a one-time blood transfusion, but the estimated 100,000 Americans with sickle cell disease face a lifetime of them. During September, National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, the American Red Cross encourages blood donations from donors of all types.
Most people with sickle cell disease are of African descent, but many are of Indian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, Mediterranean and other descents. Because recipients are less likely to have complications from blood donated by someone with the same ethnicity, a diverse supply is important.
Sickle cell disease causes red blood cells to form an abnormal shape. Regular blood transfusions can help reduce the risks of stroke, damage to major organs and other complications. While better management of the disease has increased life expectancy in recent years, there is still no cure.
Visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS to learn more and make an appointment to donate blood for patients in need like those with sickle cell disease.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
Sept. 16 from 1-5 p.m. at American Red Cross, 1610 W. 42nd St. in Pine Bluff.
Sept. 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church Activity Center, 8203 Dollarway Road in White Hall.
Sept. 27 from 2-7 p.m. at United Pentecostal Church, 515 Sheridan Road in Redfield.