2012-2013 Sickle Cell Scholarship Winner

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 student whose essay is judged the winning entry will receive a scholarship for $2,500. The winner will be invited to attend the American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Region Annual Meeting on June 20, 2013 to receive the award.

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 80,000 people across the nation, most of African descent. 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 recruiting blood donors and spreading awareness about the American Red Cross Sickle Cell Donor program important?"

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.

2012-2013 Sickle Cell Scholarship Winner

Livingston High School, NJ

“Before his birth, a boy soon to be named Joseph Katambwe was diagnosed with sickle cell disease…Joseph suffered his first stroke at merely nine months old on the right side of his body after a day spent crying with no end in sight and a night in the hospital with an oxygen tube sustaining his life.  Nine years later, he takes a trip to the hospital every six weeks for a blood transfusion – something he now understands is necessary for him to live a life as close to normal as possible…By participating in a blood drive, one could become a hero for a child with Sickle Cell Disease – such as Joseph – by suspending the pain that cannot be cured, only temporarily compromised.”