OMAHA, Neb. — September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month and with that being the case, the Red Cross wants to stress the need for those with it to donate to help save lives. In addition, it announced a Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Blood Drive on Sunday, Sept. 26.
The Red Cross said:
In the U.S., more than 100,000 people are estimated to be living with sickle cell disease, most of whom are of African descent. During Sickle Cell Awareness Month, the American Red Cross is emphasizing 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 country.
Blood transfusion is an essential sickle cell treatment
Many patients with sickle cell disease will require regular blood transfusions to help manage their disease. Unfortunately, these patients may develop an immune response against blood from donors that is not closely matched to their own. Many individuals who are Black have distinct markers on their red blood cells that make their donations ideal for helping patients with sickle cell disease. More than half of blood donors who are Black have blood that is free of C, E and K antigens – making them the best match for those with sickle cell disease.
Blood given to those with sickle cell disease must be matched closely to reduce the risk of complications. A patient in need of blood is most likely to find a compatible match from a donor of the same race or similar ethnicity. Eligible donors of all blood types are urged to make an appointment to donate at the Omaha Sickle Cell Anemia Awareness Blood Drive.Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Blood DriveSunday, September 26, 202111 a.m.-5 p.m.Morning Star Baptist Church2019 Burdette StreetOmaha, NE 68110
The Red Cross encourages individuals to make an appointment to give blood by downloading the https://www.redcrossblood.org/blood-donor-app.html, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Enter sicklecellomaha as the sponsor code to schedule an appointment.
More information about blood and diversity is available on the Red Cross website.
About blood donation
To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.
Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
Health insights for donors
At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is also 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. 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.
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.