Approximately 70,000 to 100,000 Americans have sickle cell disease (SCD), the most common form of an inherited blood disorder. To raise awareness of this disease that disproportionately effects people of color, the Gift of Life Sickle Cell Blood Drive was held at The Cookbook Restaurant in Springfield last Saturday, September 22nd.
Guests enjoyed food, live music and testimonials from local patients living with SCD, and a blood drive was held with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers. Dawn Lopez of Action News Jax was one of many celebrity readers who shared a passage from the book “Rainbows,” a children’s book about sickle cell disease by Selena Webster-Bass in memory of her son, Richard, who died of SCD in 1999 at the age of two.
The event was co-hosted by Fredrianna Webster, a young lady who is living with sickle cell disease. Throughout the day attendees were encouraged to become blood donors with LifeSouth’s Sickle Cell Heroes program. This initiative matches local donors with local SCD patients to assist with supplying blood for transfusions as part of their treatment.
SCD is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. The disease causes red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle.” The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems such as infections, acute chest syndrome and stroke.
There is no single best treatment for all people with SCD. Treatment options are different for each person depending on the symptoms.