When patients living with sickle cell disease face a sickle cell crisis, blood transfusions can make a lifesaving difference. That’s why the American Red Cross seeks to grow the number of blood donors who are Black to help patients with sickle cell disease, the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S. New Jersey donors can join this effort by giving blood at the American Red Cross of Southern New Jersey Board of Directors blood drive on Saturday, December 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Alms Center, One Martin Luther King Jr Way in Bridgeton.
More than 100,000 people live with sickle cell disease nationwide, and the majority of patients are of African descent. The disease distorts soft, round blood cells and turns them hard and crescent-shaped, which can cause extreme pain. When hardened, the cells can get caught in blood vessels, potentially leading to stroke and organ failure. Blood transfusions are often used in treatment, and many individuals who are Black have distinct markers on their red blood cells that make their blood donations the most compatible match for helping patients with sickle cell disease.
Donors are urged to schedule an appointment now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org using SNJ Chapter as the sponsor code, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). (Use sponsor code SNJ Chapter.)
The Red Cross is committed to maintaining a diverse blood supply to ensure the right blood product is available at the right time, and every blood and platelet donor has an important role in meeting that need. As a special thank-you, all those who come to donate at this blood drive will receive a $20 Gift Card by email, courtesy of Amazon.
Blood drive safety: Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.
Health insights for donors: At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease who require trait-negative blood. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.
Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.