1 in 3 black donors are more likely to be a match to help someone with sickle cell disease

Blood donations are always needed, but September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, and the American Red Cross has made a special plea to the African-American community to step up and donate.

The Red Cross reports that one in three black donors are more likely to match someone with sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder, affecting more than 100,000 Americans. Regular blood transfusions are essential to combat the severe pain and life-threatening complications many people with sickle cell disease face, and donating blood is essential to help this community.

Sickle cell disease can affect other ethnic groups, but is most common among people of African descent. People who inherit sickle cell disease have abnormal hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. This abnormal hemoglobin binds together, changing the shape of red blood cells into a curved sickle, which can block blood flow throughout the body.

However, because most black individuals have unique red blood cell structures rarely found in other donor groups, one in three African American blood donors is a match for someone with sickle cell disease.

Seasonal changes can trigger pain crises in those struggling with sickle cell disease, which can increase the need for life-saving blood transfusions.

When summer is over, make an appointment to donate blood through the Red Cross Donor Program, at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

As a thank you, everyone who donates before September 18th will receive an exclusive Red Cross t-shirt while supplies last.

Fewer life-saving blood donations weren’t the only complication people with sickle cell disease faced during the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in a recently published study. The study found that CVD death rates were stable from 2014 to 2019, but increased sharply in 2020, when 1,023 deaths were reported in the US.

Most of the reported deaths related to sickle cell disease have been among young adults between the ages of 25 and 29, and some have been linked to COVID-19.

The Red Cross can be reached at 1-800-Red-Cross. You can also contact them through them site and even their mobile app. Donating blood takes only an hour of your time and can save up to three lives by donating red blood cells, platelets and plasma.

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