American Red Cross in need of Black blood donors to support sickle cell disease patients

Source: Live 5
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 4:38 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2022 at 8:02 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The American Red Cross is pushing the importance of a diverse blood supply this month as they focus on sickle cell disease awareness.

Sickle cell disease is a blood disorder that causes red blood cells to become misshapen and break down. This often results in excruciating pain and fatigue anywhere blood flows in the body.

Right now, there isn’t a universal treatment, but when most patients battling the disease have flare ups a blood transfusion is the most common treatment.

Flare ups can be unpredictable.

Vesha Jamison, a mom of a 12-year-old patient says her son can get a flare up for a few weeks to sometimes a few months causing him to often miss out on school and extracurricular activities.

According to the American Red Cross, warriors may develop an immune response against blood from donors that is not closely matched to their own. Therefore, Jamison and the American Red Cross are spreading awareness and information this month specifically to get more Black people to donate blood.

“The more Black and African-American blood or more diverse blood we have on our shelves, when we start to put those filters on, we’ll have more blood there for patients with sickle cell when they need it most,” Jamison says.

Throughout sickle cell disease awareness month, the American Red Cross will be holding events statewide to share information about the disease, and they are always accepting blood donations.

If you’re interested in donating you can book a time to give blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).