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Wednesday 28 September 2022
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Help Ease Patient Pain During Sickle Cell Awareness Month

One in 3 African American blood donors is a match for people with sickle cell disease

In the Community: The American Red Cross

Photo from https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/blood-types/diversity/african-american-blood-donors.html.

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.

Sickle cell disease impacts more than 100,000 people across the country, most of whom are of African descent. Regular blood transfusions are critical to managing extreme pain and life-threatening complications faced by many. Unfortunately, they may develop an immune response against blood from donors that is not closely matched to their own. However, because most individuals who are Black have unique structures on their red blood cells that are not often found in other donor populations, 1 in 3 African American blood donors is a match for people with sickle cell disease. 

Seasonal changes can trigger pain crises for those battling sickle cell – possibly increasing the need for lifesaving blood transfusions. As summer ends, book a time to give blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 

As a thank-you, all who come to give through Sept. 18 will get an exclusive Red Cross T-shirt, While supplies last.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities this September in Monroe County

Rochester

  • 9/20/2022: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., American Red Cross, 1040 University Ave
  • 9/20/2022: 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Calvary Assembly, 3429 Chili Ave
  • 9/20/2022: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m., Jewish Community Center of Rochester, 1200 Edgewood Avenue
  • 9/21/2022: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., DiMarco Group, 1950 Brighton Henrietta Townline Road
  • 9/21/2022: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Rochester Institute of Technology Student, 1 Lomb Memorial Drive
  • 9/22/2022: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., American Red Cross, 1040 University Ave
  • 9/22/2022: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Irondequoit Town Hall, 1280 Titus Ave
  • 9/23/2022: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., University of Rochester Medical Center Cafe 601, 601 Elmwood Ave
  • 9/24/2022: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Ibero, 216 Clifford Ave
  • 9/24/2022: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Frederick Douglass Recreation Center, 999 South Ave
  • 9/26/2022: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Community Christian Church, 2647 Chili Ave
  • 9/27/2022: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Nazareth College, 4245 East Avenue
  • 9/27/2022: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., American Red Cross, 1040 University Ave
  • 9/28/2022: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Kearney Building, 3690 East Avenue
  • 9/28/2022: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Irondequoit Beer Company, 765 Titus Ave
  • 9/28/2022: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Chili Community Center, 3237 Chili Ave.
  • 9/29/2022: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., American Red Cross, 1040 University Ave
  • 9/29/2022: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Bryant and Stratton, 854 Long Pond Road
  • 9/30/2022: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Rochester Prep High School, 14 Mark Street

Sickle cell disease distorts soft, round blood cells and turns them hard and crescent-shaped, which can cause severe pain. “When cells harden, they can get caught in blood vessels, potentially leading to stroke and organ failure,” said Dr. Lawrence Fialkow, Medical Director, American Red Cross Western New York Region. “Transfusions provide healthy blood cells, unblocking blood vessels and delivering oxygen, minimizing crises patients with sickle cell may face.”   

To help ensure patients have the blood products they need, the American Red Cross is working with partners in the Black community to grow the number of blood donors who are Black through the sickle cell initiative, which launched in 2021. 

In the first year of the initiative, the number of first-time African American blood donors who gave with the Red Cross increased by 60%. In September and October, the Red Cross launches Joined by Blood, a component of the initiative where the Red Cross teams up with community organizations to host blood drives and inspire donors who are Black to give blood to support patients with sickle cell disease. 

The Red Cross is doing additional screening of all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. The 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. 

To learn more about donating and more, visit RedCrossBlood.org/OurBlood. You can also find additional locations at  redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org.