Sickle Cell Awareness Month Begins

Sickle cell anemia affects as many as 70,000 people in the United States. Monday marks the first day of National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder that causes red blood cells to form an abnormal crescent shape.

Many patients with sickle cell face a lifetime of blood transfusions. Ninety percent of people with sickle cell anemia are of minority groups. The American Red Cross is encouraging minority donors to donate because they are a better match for sickle cell patients.

Kalishia Mitchell, American Red Cross Account Manager, says, “So what we are trying to do is encourage more minority donors to donate, because with sickle cell, these people have to get so many blood transfusions throughout the year, it’s best to come from someone of the same ethnicity, so we are encouraging minority groups, the Latino groups, the Asian groups, the Hispanic groups, as well as the African American groups to come out and donate because that helps those sickle cell anemia patients when getting those transfusions. It’s a better match for those patients.”

Other than minority groups, the American Red Cross is looking for donors with type O or A blood.

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