During Sickle Cell Awareness Month, donors can help patients fight back
TEXAS–The American Red Cross is emphasizing the unique role Black blood donors play in the medical treatment of those living with sickle cell disease during Sickle Cell Awareness Month this September. Right now, more black blood donors are critically needed to help patients battling sickle cell disease as blood drives – especially those at schools, colleges and universities – continue to be canceled at alarming rates.
Last spring, more black blood donors gave at Red Cross blood drives held at educational institutions than at any other blood drive location type. As drives across the country canceled this spring due to coronavirus concerns, the number of Black blood donors giving at these schools decreased from over 15,000 in 2019 to about 2,700 this year. Drives at educational institutions make up the largest percentage of fall blood drive cancellations, so the need for more Black blood donors for sickle cell patients is expected to remain urgent.
“Sickle cell disease profoundly impacts the quality of life of those living with this inherited blood disorder and your blood donation could be the donation that helps a patient keep fighting,” said Executive Medical Director, Red Cross Blood Services Dr. Yvette Miller. “The pandemic hasn’t stopped the need for transfusions for sickle cell patients. The Red Cross encourages eligible donors to roll up a sleeve and share their strength with patients during Sickle Cell Awareness Month.”
More black blood donors are urged to make a blood donation appointment by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1 (800) RED CROSS 1 (800) 733-2767 or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
COVID-19 information for donors
The Red Cross is testing blood, donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. Donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within seven to 10 days through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
There will be an upcoming blood donation in Mabank from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18 at Mabank Fire Department located at 111 E. Mason St.