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“Until a cure is found, blood donations are helping people like me live their best life.”September is Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month
Davenport, Iowa – Officials with Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center are seeking an increase in donations by African-American and Hispanic blood donors to help ensure the availability of blood components for patients with Sickle Cell Disease. During the month of September – Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month – the Blood Center is increasing its messaging on the importance of blood donation in treating patients with Sickle Cell Disease.
Quinn Hill, a Sickle Cell Disease patient blood drive coordinator in the St. Louis region, has received blood transfusions throughout her life. Diagnosed with sickle cell disease as a newborn, Hill has learned throughout her life that blood transfusions help replace “sickled” cells with healthy red blood cells. “For diseases like sickle cell, which are primarily in people of color, it is important to have a match,” said Hill. “When donors have a similar genetic makeup, you have a match for blood type and subgroups. All of the pieces fit.”
During Sickle Cell Awareness Month, Hills wants to remind donors what a tremendous difference they can make. “You have something special. You’re giving people life, and I can tell you, until a cure is found, blood donations are keeping people like me living and breathing and living their best life.” (Note: learn more about Quinn and her advocacy for blood donation at www.bloodcenter.org/quinn.)
To schedule an appointment to give blood at an MVRBC Donor Center or mobile blood drive, call (800) 747-5401, find blood drive information online at www.bloodcenterimpact.org, or schedule via the Blood Center IMPACT app, available on iTunes or Google Play (see www.bloodcenter.org/app for info).
“Receiving a well-matched blood transfusion can mean the difference between life, disability, and death for sickle cell patients,” said Dr. Yasuko Erickson, Chief Medical Officer. “These patients rely on frequent blood transfusions, often every month, to help manage their disease. Blood transfused for sickle cell anemia must be matched in much more detail than for many other patients and must be ready when the patient needs his or her treatment.”
Erickson explained that sickle cell disease causes severe pain when abnormally shaped red blood cells clog the circulation. Serious complications include stroke, and damage to the eyes, kidneys, and spleen. Transfusions can replace the abnormal cells, replenishing the supply of healthy red blood cells and preventing painful medical crises and organ damage.
“Sickle Cell patients often require many transfusions over long periods of treatment. Quality and longevity of life are at stake. Increasing the diversity of our donor base means we can ensure the availability of well-matched blood components for sickle cell patients when they need it.”
For more information on Sickle Cell Disease and Sickle Cell Awareness Month, see www.bloodcenter.org/sickle.
About Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center
Based in Davenport, Iowa, MVRBC is a not-for-profit, community-based provider of blood and blood components to 88 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin. Since its founding in 1974, MVRBC has collected more than 3-million units of blood from volunteer donors and has served millions of patients in the Midwest and through national resource sharing partners. To find a nearby Donor Center or mobile blood drive, call (800) 747-5401 or check schedules online at www.bloodcenterimpact.org or via MVRBC’s mobile app (info and links to download at www.bloodcenter.org/app).