By Stephanie Grande/American Red Cross
More than 170 miles on the road, two successful blood drives with major partners, the University of California, Riverside and Crenshaw Christian Center to be exact, multiple meetings, and it is only Thursday in a typical week for Ingrid Green, regional sickle cell account manager. Despite a long week, Ingrid joins our call with an effervescent greeting and radiating joy as she looks forward to discussing the American Red Cross sickle cell initiative.
“I have no complaints,” Ingrid Green said. “I really enjoy what I’m doing, meeting people, working with the community, giving back. There is ease and joy in busy weeks when you know you are doing something that means something.”
In her role, Ingrid is responsible for building sickle cell partnerships with local organizations and communities. In the U.S., it is estimated that over 100,000 people - the majority of whom are of African descent – have sickle cell disease and may require regular blood transfusions to help manage their disease. Blood donations from individuals who are Black play a vital role in meeting the broader transfusion needs of patients and those with sickle cell disease. Partnerships with national and local organizations within the Black community are critical to building trust, sharing information and working together to engage new donors and help save lives.
After a storied business to business sales career spanning more than two decades, Ingrid was driven by a desire for the next chapter of her career to focus on giving back. A humanitarian at heart, she serves as the President of L.E.A.D, Ladies for Ethnic Advancement and Dignity, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for students in the Greater Los Angeles area, and as a former graduate advisor and former President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Mu Beta Omega graduate chapter, philanthropy is at her core.
When she learned of the role, she was moved by the opportunity to give back, raise awareness and challenge taboos in her community. Sickle cell disease is an enduring and often invisible condition that is not often talked about widely and is associated with health outcomes and resource disparities.
“My son’s best friend has been in our lives since kindergarten, they are in their mid-twenties now, yet it was until Jr. High School that we found out his best friend faced sickle cell pain crises,” Green said.
“Sickle cell was once considered taboo to discuss, and since I’ve had this role, I’ve made it my mission to talk to everyone I know about sickle cell and the difference blood donations make.”
Sickle cell disease disproportionately impacts the Black community, and a single patient with sickle cell disease can require thousands of blood transfusions throughout their life. These frequent transfusions can cause patients with sickle cell disease to develop an immune response against blood from a donor that is not closely matched and this can lead to serious complications. Blood donations from members of the Black community can make a world of difference for patients with sickle cell disease. Empowered by an intrinsic desire to make an impact in her community, Ingrid is driving the sickle cell initiative forward.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/la or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossLA.