Learn About Sickle Cell Disease And How You Can Help
Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.
- In the U.S., it is estimated that over 100,000 people have sickle cell disease — most who are of African descent and will require regular blood transfusions to help manage their disease.
- Sickle cell disease distorts soft and round red blood cells and turns them hard and crescent shaped, which can cause individuals to experience extreme pain, tissue and organ damage, acute anemia and even strokes.
- A single patient with sickle cell disease may receive up to 100 pints of blood each year, just to ensure survival.
- Individuals with sickle cell disease can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lifetime to treat complications of their disease.
Blood from people of the same race or similar ethnicity is important in ensuring the best transfusion results, with the least potential reaction.
- Many individuals who are Black have unique protein structures on their red blood cells that make their donations the most compatible blood to help patients with sickle cell disease.
- Today, donors who are Black make up less than 4% of Red Cross blood donors, making it difficult to ensure the right blood product is available at the right time for patients.
- The Red Cross is working to increase the number of closely matched blood products available for patients with sickle cell disease by significantly increasing the number of Black donors who are most likely to provide that closely matched blood donation.
Blood drive programs are critical in supporting the health of our communities.
- Blood Program Leaders are needed to help raise awareness and inspire members of the Black community to donate and host blood drives.
- By hosting a blood drive program, you may make a difference in the lives of patients with sickle cell disease as well as moms with complicated childbirths, people fighting cancer, accident or trauma victims being raced to emergency rooms, and more.
- Organizations and businesses within the Black community are urged to host blood drive programs to help provide convenient locations for friends and family to donate.
Join The Fight Against Sickle Cell Disease
Hosting an American Red Cross blood drive in your community plays a critical role in helping patients battling sickle cell disease. Help make a difference in the lives of over 100,000 people fighting sickle cell disease by providing a convenient location for donors to donate blood.
How Hosting Works
What The Host Provides
- Location. — A large open room with enough space to ensure donor privacy.
- Volunteers. — For recruiting scheduling and supporting donors.
- Donors. — You'll need to recruit and schedule donors for your drive.
What The Red Cross Provides
- Planning Assistance — Your Red Cross representative will work with you to plan and organize the blood drive.
- Recruitment Tools — We’ll help you determine how many donors you need and how to recruit them, including an online scheduling tools for your donors.
- Equipment & Supplies — We’ll bring everything we need to your location, set it up and take it down at the end, including snacks and drinks. Trained Staff — Our staff will confidentially screen donors and collect donations, safely and professionally.
- Sickle Cell Trait Screening – For a limited time, the American Red Cross will expand its testing to include sickle cell trait screening on all donations from self-identified African American donors. This additional screening will help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help sickle cell patients and provide our Black donors an additional health insight during a time when health information has never been more important.
- Incentives – Throughout the year, we provide many valuable incentives for Blood Program Leaders and donors — check with your Red Cross representative to see if you qualify.
- Health Screening – Prior to donating blood, all donors will receive a free health screening. At the time of your donation, your blood pressure, hemoglobin, and pulse will be checked. We record these vitals in your online donor profile. You can access this information as well as past health information obtained during prior donations, at any time. We encourage you to share your results with your healthcare provider at your next visit.
Find more information about the health screening process»
Help Your Community
Committed Blood Program Leaders and donors help ensure patients facing cancer, sickle cell disease, surgeries and difficult childbirths all have access to lifesaving blood products without delay. Red Cross blood donors share why it’s important for them to donate blood and how this gratifying act positively impacts their community.
Make A Difference In Your Community
Form a recruitment committee to make your blood program a success.