2011-2012 Sickle Cell Scholarship Competition

The American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region is pleased to announce an essay competition and scholarship award focused on increasing awareness of the need for blood donors to support the blood transfusions needs of patients living with Sickle Cell Disease.  All students with in the Penn-Jersey Region are encouraged to participate.

The competition was developed in celebration of the blood donor recruitment activities of high school students. Through their association with the Penn-Jersey Region those recruitment efforts have resulted in more blood donations for the Red Cross Sickle Cell Disease Program, from students of the African American and Black communities.


Sickle Cell Disease affects the lives of more than 70,000 people across the nation, most of African decent. In fact one in every 12 African Americans carries the trait for Sickle Cell Disease.

The Sickle Cell Program at the American Red Cross is designed to provide better blood transfusion support for children with Sickle Cell Disease. The best blood for patients suffering from Sickle Cell Disease usually comes from an African American blood donor who can provide blood that is a better match for patients who suffer from the disease. Since patients with Sickle Cell Disease often need many blood transfusions, it is best for them to receive blood that very closely matches their own.  Donors with the same ethnic background usually make the best match.

Essay Question

"Why is the Sickle Cell program important to the overall mission of the American Red Cross?"

Please include an effective personal statement tied to your experiences with the American Red Cross Blood Services and your high school blood program that emphasizes your  accomplishments and creativity in blood donor recruitment. Identify  any challenges that you  faced and how you overcame them and provide details of your tangible recruitment results.


Applicants to the Sickle Cell Essay Competition must:

  • Be a graduating high school senior who attends school in the area covered by the Penn-Jersey Region (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery or Philadelphia Counties or the State of New Jersey).
  • Attend a high school that sponsors a blood drive with American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region.
  • Be actively involved in the planning and/or recruitment of blood donors during their senior year of high school.

High school students of American Red Cross employees or students who serve on the Penn-Jersey Region Board of Directors are not eligible to participate in the essay competition.

Letters of Recommendations

  • Two letters of recommendation must be submitted. Endorsements may be submitted from a Guidance Counselor, Department Head, Faculty Advisor, Teacher, Principal, Vice Principal or Key Club/Student Council Advisor.
  • Letters must include:  applicant’s full name, verification of residency, school enrollment, and confirmation of active involvement in Blood Services.

The following questions must be answered by the endorsers:

  • How long have you known the applicant? In what capacity?
  • What are the applicant’s strengths and abilities? Cite examples.
  • Describe applicant’s academic potential. What is the applicants distinguishing characteristics?
  • How does the applicant stand apart from others students?
  • How was the applicant involved in Blood Services?

General letters of endorsement that do not respond to the specific questions will not be considered.

Students may submit essay and application either online electronically or via US Postal Service.

Instructions for Essay/Application Submission Online - by Friday, March 30, 2012

  • CLICK HERE to Submit online electronically. Applicants will receive an email confirmation when the application is submitted.
  • Submit in Adobe Acrobat format (PDF) via the web application form.
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • One page resume (optional)

Instructions for Submitting via REGULAR US Postal Service by Friday, March 30, 2012

In one envelope submit:

  • Completed application form (Download Here)
  • Response to essay question
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • One page resume (optional)

Applicants will receive a written confirmation when the application is received.

Submit via US Postal Service to: 
     Jennifer M. Graham
     American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region
     700 Spring Garden Street
     Philadelphia, PA l9123-3594

Entries and Awards

The Selection Committee is comprised of American Red Cross board members, staff and community representatives who will determine the essay competition honoree.

The student whose essay is judged the winning entry will receive a scholarship check for $1,000. The award will be presented to the honoree at the American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Region Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 21, 2012.


Acceptance of the essay competition scholarship award constitutes permission for American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region to use the recipients name, biographical information and photos for publicity purposes.

Click here to submit your application online.