The American Red Cross is putting out a call for Black blood donors to come out and donate in support of fighting sickle cell disease, a disease of whom the majority affected are of African descent.
Sickle cell disease, which affects more than 100,000 people nationwide, can cause extreme pain and eventually lead to stroke or organ failure. Treatment requires consistent blood transfusions, and many Black people have distinct markers on their red blood cells making their donations important for those in need of treatment for sickle cell disease.
One in three African American blood donors is a match for people with sickle cell disease. For those with the disease, transfusions are needed consistently, and donations from the same race, ethnicity, and blood type of sickle cell patients are especially useful for fighting the disease.
Donating blood does not just save other people’s lives, but it can also be important for your own health. The Red Cross will be screening all donations from self-identified Black donors for the sickle cell trait. This will both provide insight into potential risk of sickle cell disease and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly.
A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in, and results on sickle cell trait screening can be expected within one to two weeks. Donors who give blood for the June 17 drive will also get a $20 gift card by email, and all who donate in June will receive an additional $10 gift card by email as well as a chance to win a home theater package.
Appointments are highly encouraged, and to schedule an appointment online, visit the Red Cross website link for Urban League of Greater Madison here.