Red Cross hosts blood drive for Sickle Cell Awareness Month

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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month and the Red Cross is trying to continue spreading the importance of giving blood to help Sickle Cell patients.

The International Net Church in Summerville hosted a blood drive with the Red Cross.

Sickle Cell is a disease that is more common for African American people

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Sickle Cell Disease occurs among about 1 out of every 365 African-American births with about 1 in 13 African-American babies being born with sickle cell trait.

SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 16,300 Hispanic-American births.About 1 in 13 Black or African-American babies is born with sickle cell trait (SCT).

Health officials say African Americans can help Sickle Cell patients even more by giving blood because of what can be found in their blood stream that can help other African Americans.

“By matching with someone of the same race or ethnicity, we’re able to better the needs of those Sickle Cell patients who may require regular blood transfusions to treat Sickle Cell crisis,” said Maya Franklin, External Communications Manger with the Red Cross.

I decided to do my part and give blood today but was unable to because of some simple things that I did not take of in the days leading to my appointment.

“Make sure that they are well hydrated, making sure they’re following proper nutrition guidelines, getting a lot of iron rich foods into their diet…Sleeping well,” said Franklin.

Cassandra Manick is a Red Cross volunteer and a Sickle Cell patient.

She said that she’s always wanted to volunteer at a blood drive and decided to jump at the chance to participate now even with Sickle Cell patients being part of the high risk group that could be affected by COVID-19.

She took time out of her volunteering to describe how a blood transfusion recently helped save her life.

“Just recently I had to be in the hospital, like two months ago, and I actually needed a unit of blood and so if they come in and give their blood… it really can help out,” said Manick.

Pastor Shann Laribo, Pastor at Net International Church, says he was more than happy to host the blood drive and wants to continue to be an advocate for Sickle Cell patients in the future.

“Now I’m learning that the black community can really help reverse the effect and the importance of matching our blood together and this was information that I never really knew and I just wonder how many others out there don’t know,” said Pastor Laribo.

Click here to schedule a blood donation.

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