CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A family said their lives changed forever after a health scare and now they’re using that moment to help others.
In 2015, Braden Green was hospitalized following a flare up of his Sickle Cell Anemia.
“With Sickle Cell, it can happen really quickly and it can get bad really quickly. he was diagnosed with acute chest syndrome which is when the blood sickles in the lungs,” said Brenda Green, Braden’s mom.
Once Red Cross officials heard his story, hey worked hard to find a blood match for Braden, when they did, it was this transfusion that saved his life.
“I was sitting there in PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) and watching him get his transfusion and seeing the blood going into his body, it was such a surreal moment,” said Brenda Green.
Sickle Cell Anemia is a disease that attacks and mishappens the Red Blood Cells and is more prominent in African Americans.
Last year, the Red Cross surprised Braden and his family with tickets to the Super Bowl, where they were able to celebrate, have some fun, and even meet some NFL players like Miami Dolphins Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Since Braden’s hospitalization, the Green family created The B Strong Group, a non-profit that hosts blood drives and educates others about the disease
“We took on one of the initiatives of educating our community and our people about the importance of blood donations and the fact that there is more to our blood than just the type.”Brenda Green
Officials say it’s important for anyone to give blood but especially African Americans when it comes to treating Sickle Cell.
“When it comes to treating those with Sickle Cell Anemia, we found that we can match blood beyond type down to a certain antigen and it turns out that 33% of African American donors have this antigen in their blood and almost 0% Caucasion donors have the antigen,” said Ashley Henyen, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of the Lowcountry SC.
Click here to set an appointment for a blood drive with the American Red Cross.