BLUFFTON – There will be a blood donation opportunity from 8:30 am to 2 pm on Wednesday, September 29 at Bluffton High School, 106 W. College Ave., Bluffton.
Red Cross initiative aims to increase blood availability for patients with sickle cell disease
Blood transfusions from black donors may provide the best results for patients
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 14, 2021) – When patients living with sickle cell disease face a sickle cell crisis, blood transfusions can save lives. That’s why the American Red Cross has launched an initiative to increase the number of black blood donors to help patients with sickle cell disease, a persistent and often invisible health disparity in the United States.
Over 100,000 people in the United States suffer from sickle cell anemia, the most common inherited blood disorder, and the majority of patients are of African descent. Despite the disease being discovered over a century ago, there have been fewer health resources available to help those currently suffering from sickle cell crisis compared to similar illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with sickle cell disease have worse health outcomes than comparable illnesses.
Closer blood match leads to better results
Many patients with sickle cell disease will need regular blood transfusions to help manage their disease. Unfortunately, these patients can develop an immune response against donor blood that does not closely match their own. Many black people have distinct markers on their red blood cells that make their donation ideal for helping patients with sickle cell disease. More than half of black blood donors have blood free of C, E, and K antigens, making it the best choice for people with sickle cell disease.
The Red Cross is asking members of the black community to join them in helping to bridge this health disparity and meet the needs of patients with sickle cell disease. Donors can take action today by booking a blood donation appointment at RedCrossBlood.org, downloading the blood donor app, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS. To help meet the need for blood in September – Sickle Cell Awareness Month – all donors who donate with the Red Cross September 13-30 will receive a limited edition football-themed t-shirt , while stocks last.
Sickle cell anemia deforms the soft, round blood cells and makes them hard and crescent-shaped, which can cause extreme pain. Once hardened, cells can get stuck in blood vessels, which can lead to strokes and organ failure.
“Transfusions provide healthy blood cells, unblocking blood vessels and providing oxygen,” said Chad Priest, CEO of the American Red Cross in Indiana. “By increasing the amount of closely matched blood products, the Red Cross is able to ensure that the right blood product is available at the right time for patients with a sickle cell crisis, thereby minimizing complications for people of different blood groups. rare that fight against sickle cell anemia. “
Every transfusion counts
A native of Fort Wayne, Joshua Jank was born with sickle cell anemia. At the age of five, Josh had several minor strokes. Without a routine of monthly blood transfusions, additional strokes would result in disability and death for a person with sickle cell disease.
Aged 5 to 19, Josh received over 400 units of blood from people who wanted to make a difference in the lives of others by donating blood. Josh lived stroke free, enjoying his childhood and a life free of pain and other sickle cell complications thanks to generous donors. Josh and his family hosted a Red Cross blood drive in July to raise awareness of the importance of donating blood for those battling sickle cell anemia.
“Josh enjoyed a quality of life made possible by the dedication and generosity of others who were ready to take a break, visit a blood drive and give life. Nothing beats that, ”said Brenda Jank, Joshua’s mother.
Support from community partners
Partnerships with national and local organizations within the black community are essential for building trust, sharing information and working together to engage new donors to save lives. Nationally, the Red Cross is excited to announce new partnerships with leading organizations like the NAACP and 100 Black Men of America, Inc. to raise awareness of sickle cell disease as a persistent and heartbreaking health disparity. and to help sickle cell patients by encouraging blood donation from black people.
Locally, the Indiana region of the American Red Cross Society of Indiana is partnering with 100 Black Men of Indianapolis, Inc. to help amplify the message of the need for more diverse blood donors.