Give blood during Sickle Cell Awareness Month
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.
In the U.S. sickle cell disease impacts more than 100,000 people, most of whom are of African descent. Regular blood transfusions are critical to managing extreme pain and life-threatening complications faced by many. One in 3 African American blood donors is a match for people with sickle cell disease.
By making a blood donation this fall, donors can help those with sickle cell manage their symptoms and feel the support of their community. Book a time to give blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
It is estimated that about 1 in 13 Black or African American babies in the U.S. is born with sickle cell trait, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many individuals are unaware they carry this trait. To provide a valuable health insight to donors, the Red Cross currently tests all donations from those who self-identify as either multiracial or Black or African American for sickle cell trait. Health experts recommend that individuals with sickle cell trait be aware of their status and consult their medical provider on what it means for them.
To make an appointment, 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. 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. In North Carolina, individuals 16 and 17 years of age may donate with parental consent. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.