Support a Sickle Cell Patient During Black History Month

January 31, 2013

Did you know the American Red Cross sends approximately 450 pints of rare blood to Bay Area hospitals each month to help treat patients with blood disorders like sickle cell disease?

Sickle cell disease causes acute pain, severe anemia, infections, and vascular blockages that can lead to organ damage and death. Often, patients require monthly blood transfusions to deal with the effects of the disease and help alleviate the debilitating pain. Patients can need these transfusions for the duration of their lives.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that sickle cell disease occurs in 1 out of every 500 Black or African American births. Its prevalence in the African American population means that African American donors can provide blood that is the best match for those who suffer with the disease.

February is Black History Month – an ideal time for African American blood donors to make a commitment to helping local sickle cell patients. And the Red Cross has a program which makes that possible.

The Blue Tie Tag program is a blood donor recruitment initiative designed to increase the diversity of the local blood supply. The program allows blood that is collected from African American donors to be matched to patients with sickle cell disease. If a donation that is collected through the program is not needed for a sickle cell patient within 21 days, then that unit of blood becomes available for any patient in need.

Please consider becoming a regular Blue Tie Tag blood donor. You can donate as often as every 56 days, but even coming in just three times a year would help the Red Cross get so much closer to meeting the needs of sickle cell patients throughout the Bay Area.

For more information or to schedule your Blue Tie Tag blood donation appointment, please call 510-594-5209.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission), meet height and weight requirements (at least 110 pounds based on height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

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 or join our blog at