Published by Kirby Winn on Thursday, June 17, 2021 in News Releases
Blood providers, patients, and advocacy organizations recognize June 19, 2021 as World Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Day. This day is observed annually with the goal to increase public knowledge and understanding of sickle cell disease, as well as the challenges experienced by patients and their families and caregivers. Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disorder that affects red blood cells. It is the most common hereditary disorder and currently affects more than 100,000 Americans, predominantly people of African, Middle Eastern, Grecian, Indian, and Latin American descent.
The red blood cells in patients with sickle cell disease can become sickled in shape, making them rigid and sticky, and causing the cells to become stuck in small blood vessels. When patients experience a sickle cell crisis, red cell transfusion can provide healthy red cells to replace the “sickled” cells. In the U.S. Sickle Cell Disease affects African Americans disproportionately and 1 in 3 African Americans have matching blood types to help through voluntary blood donations.
Blood Donors Make a Difference!
Aniyah, a high school student in the St. Louis region, was diagnosed with sickle cell disease when she was just four months old. She describes her experience in the following terms: “Because I don’t look like I’m sick, doesn’t mean that I’m not sick. The pain, when you get it, it’s like something you can’t even describe.”
Donors are invited to join ImpactLife in recognizing World Sickle Cell Awareness Day by scheduling a donation on June 19. As part of the blood center’s current donor promotion, everyone who registers to donate at an ImpactLife Donor Center or mobile blood drive will receive a voucher to redeem for a $10 gift card to the recipient’s choice of Amazon.com, Dunkin’ Donuts, Lowe’s, Target, Starbucks, or Walmart. ($10 gift card voucher provided through July 11, 2021.) To schedule an appointment for donation, call (800) 747-5401 or schedule online at www.bloodcenter.org, or via the Blood Center's mobile app (www.bloodcenter.org/app).
Sickle Cell Disease Association of America programs and events
The Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA) is working with Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT) to sponsor the first ever “Lift Every Voice to Shine the Light on Sickle Cell” spoken word contest on World Sickle Cell Day. Sponsored by GBT and SCDAA, the event aims to elevate voices of the SCD community. Performances by the spoken word contest winner and finalists will be featured in a virtual event on Fri., June 18, 2021, at 6 p.m. and Sat., June 19, 2021, at 2 p.m. on the Sickle Cell Speaks Facebook and Instagram pages. The event will be feature performances by SCD advocates who are passionate about using spoken word to educate and inspire change: Charly Richard, musician, and writer; DeMitrious Wyant, musician and entrepreneur; and Candis St. John, nurse, and poet. Find more stories from sickle cell patients at NHLBI https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/todays-faces-sickle-cell-disease.
Shine the Light on Sickle Cell
SiNERGe, in collaboration with SCDAA and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, will hold “Shine the Light on Sickle Cell,” a 24-hour awareness campaign, on June 19. This national awareness effort encourages community-based organizations, individuals, and anyone concerned about sickle cell disease to get involved. Learn more about Shine the Light and get involved by visiting the Shine the Light website, and share your plans to participate on on Facebook. Click here to watch the Shine the Light video.
ImpactLife is a not-for-profit community organization providing blood services to 120 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin, as well as resource sharing partners across the country. Services extend from southcentral Wisconsin to St. Louis, Missouri and from Danville, Illinois to Chariton, Iowa. ImpactLife operates 19 Donor Centers and holds approximately 5000 mobile blood drives annually to provide blood components needed for patient transfusions at hospitals throughout our region.
ImpactLife recently announced its new name. For more information on the name change, see www.bloodcenter.org/impactlife. For more information, see www.bloodcenter.org and find us @impactlifeblood on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat.