MOBILE, Ala. (Sept. 3, 2018) — September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month and the American Red Cross and Beta Omicron Lambda and Theta Delta chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha have teamed up to host a special blood drive aimed at raising awareness of sickle cell disease. Volunteer donors are invited to give blood Saturday, Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Franklin Primary Health Center, 1303 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave, in Mobile. Walk-ins are welcome.
Over the last 20 years, the Beta Omicron Lambda and Theta Delta Chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha have collected hundreds of units of lifesaving blood and dedicated themselves to educating the community on the importance of minority blood donation for sickle cell patients. “Every blood donation is important and maintaining a diverse blood supply is a priority to the American Red Cross because of its importance to patients,” said Ronnika A. McFall, external communications manager of the Red Cross Alabama and Central Gulf Coast Blood Services Region. “Diverse blood donors may have the unique ability to help patients with different illnesses or inherited diseases – for example, those with sickle cell anemia.”
Alpha Phi Alpha member Leventrice Ridgeway has experienced the effects of sickle cell firsthand and recognizes the importance of the initiative. “Growing up with sickle cell, the hospital was my second home,” said Ridgeway. “Hosting these blood drives helps hospitals have the right blood type matches for those who encounter a sickle cell crisis and need blood transfusions.”
In honor of National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, the Red Cross encourages eligible donors to help ensure a stable and diverse blood supply by giving blood. Sickle cell anemia is the most common form of sickle cell disease - a serious disorder in which the body makes abnormal crescent shaped red blood cells. Blood transfusions from donors of the same ethnic background can reduce the risk of complications and help alleviate some symptoms of severe sickle cell disease.
How to donate blood
For more information and to make an appointment to donate, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) sponsor code: alphaphialpha. Donors of all blood types are needed. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), 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 have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or mobile device. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit RedCross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.