LifeSouth Welcomes Blood Donors to the 365 Movement: African American blood donors make a difference for local sickle cell warriors
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a genetic blood disorder that impacts one in every 365 African American children. It is named for the thin, crescent-shaped red blood cells that face more difficulty passing through blood vessels than healthy, disc-shaped red blood cells. Patients with SCD may experience symptoms such as chronic fatigue, recurrent episodes of extreme pain, breathlessness and increased risk of complications such as stroke, liver disease and delayed growth.
Here are four ways you can make a difference for a local patient:
• Join the 365 Movement by scheduling regular blood drives at your church, place of business, or within your community to help individuals who could be a potential match for a SCD patient. There is no cost to host a LifeSouth blood drive, and LifeSouth will provide snacks and gifts for all participants — plus marketing support to help make sure your drive is a success.
• Visit a LifeSouth donor center or blood drive to donate blood. LifeSouth will test each donation to identify potential Sickle Cell Heroes. LifeSouth’s Northeast Florida donor centers are open Monday through Friday, and are located at 7840 Baymeadows Way and 800 Prudential Drive (inside Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville).
• Donate as often as you can if your identified blood antigen profile is a match. If you are identified as a Sickle Cell Hero, your donations will help a local patient living with SCD.
• Join the Be The Match Registry. There is no universal cure for SCD, but some patients may qualify for a bone marrow transplant. LifeSouth can assist local donors who are interested in being potential bone marrow or cord blood donors for patients in need, including those living with SCD.
Donors must be at least 17 or 16 with parental permission, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good health. A photo ID is also needed. To learn more, visit LifeSouth.org/SickleCell.