ATLANTA (Sept. 1, 2020) — During Sickle Cell Awareness Month, the American Red Cross is calling on African American and Latino blood donors to help ensure a diverse blood supply that meets the transfusion needs of patients battling sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease, the most common inherited blood disorder in the country, affects 10,300 patients across the state of Georgia. That is close to 10% of the disease in the country. The Red Cross, in partnership with community, faith-based organizations and the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia, invites healthy volunteer donors to donate at blood drives in honor of sickle cell patients throughout the month of September.
Donation appointments can be made by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. sponsor code: sicklecell.
Sickle cell disease causes red blood cells to be crescent-shaped instead of soft and round. This makes it difficult for blood to flow smoothly and carry oxygen to the rest of the body. Blood transfusion helps sickle cell disease patients by increasing the number of normal red blood cells in the body, helping to deliver oxygen and unblock blood vessels. Regular blood transfusions are often a critical treatment for sickle cell patients.
“Blood transfusions are absolutely essential for keeping many sickle cell patients alive,” said Dr. Milford Greene, Director of Health Affairs & Clinical Laboratory Services, Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia. “Because many sickle cell disease patients depend on a compatible blood match from a donor of the same race or ethnicity, the Red Cross encourages eligible donors to roll up a sleeve and share their strength with patients during Sickle Cell Awareness Month.”
Blood donation opportunities in honor of sickle cell patients:
9/1/20: 1 – 6 p.m. Fairfield Inn & Suites Atlanta 7775 Ella Lane, Fairburn
9/2/20: 1 – 6 p.m. Fairfield Inn & Suites Atlanta 7775 Ella Lane, Fairburn
9/2/20: 2 – 6 p.m. Cornerstone Baptist Church 7167 S. Sweetwater Rd., Lithia Springs
9/2/20: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Consulado de General Mexico 1700 Chantilly Dr. NE., Atlanta
9/8/20: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friendship Community Church 4141 Old Fairburn Rd., Atlanta
9/10/20: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Grady Hospital Auditorium 80 Jesse Hill Jr. Dr. SE., Atlanta
Sponsor code: Grady
9/12/20: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia/World Changes Church International main room – senior building 2495 Burdett Rd., College Park
9/12/20: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. St. John AME Church 305 W. Campbellton St., Fairburn
9/12/20: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Bethel United Methodist Church 1215 New Hope Rd. SW., Atlanta
9/17/20: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Grady Hospital 3896 Princeton Lakes Way, Atlanta.
Sponsor code: Grady
9/17/20: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia/World Changes Church International 206 N. Avenue, Villa Rica
9/17/20: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Hoyt Smith Recreation Center Gym 3444 N. Fulton Ave., Atlanta
Sponsor code: HAPECT
9/19/20: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Spread The World Ministries 4626 Washington Rd., Atlanta
9/22/20: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Georgia State University Student Recreation Center practice gym 101 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta. Sponsor code: GeorgiaSU
9/24/20: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia/World Changes Church International main room – senior building 2495 Burdett Rd., College Park
9/26/20: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Elizabeth Baptist Church 4245 Cascade Rd. SW., Atlanta
9/27/20: noon – 4 p.m. Universal Church Marietta 470 Franklin Gateway #103, Marietta
9/30/20: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. First St. Peter AME Church 1074 South Indian Creek, Stone Mountain
9/30/20: 1 – 6 p.m. Grace United Methodist Church 458 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE., Atlanta
Important COVID-19 information for donors
The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may qualify to be convalescent plasma donors. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from COVID-19 survivors that have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus. Donors can expect to receive the results of their antibody test within 7 to 10 days through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or the donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
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) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device and enter sponsor code: sicklecell. 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 donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, from a computer or mobile device on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. 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% 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.