Patients with sickle cell disease often rely on regular blood transfusions throughout their lives to prevent complications such as organ and tissue damage, severe pain, and strokes. “By donating platelets and blood, I’m keeping Chaznee’s efforts alive. Sickle cell is a huge problem in the African American community and there’s a shortage of African American donors,” Jasper explains.
One in three African American blood donors are a match for people with sickle cell disease. “Chaznee educated me, she would always tell me that we really could help people with sickle cell disease if more of us donated blood,” he said.
Besides his commitment to the African American community, Jasper also knows that every time he visits the Oakland Blood Donation Center, his platelet donation helps cancer patients and people who are facing life-threatening illnesses or severe injuries.
“During one of my platelet appointments, the staff shared that my donation was going to be taken to a local hospital. There was a 66-year-old cancer patient who had just gotten out of surgery and because of my blood type, my donation was headed to her, pronto!” he remembers. “It’s cool to know that I’ve helped so many people that I’ll never get to meet. I joke around and tell people I’m a lifesaver. I’ve probably saved a ton of lives over the years. That’s what being a platelet donor means to me.”
When asked what advice he’d give to those who are considering donating blood for the first time, he immediately responded with confidence and humor: “There is NOTHING to be afraid of!! The staff will make sure to take great care of you and will ensure that your donation experience goes smoothly. I appreciate the great care they take of me on every visit. For the (Red Cross blood center staff), they kind of become like family. I mean, they’ve been seeing me for nearly 13 years now!”
“I never thought about or really cared about my blood type. But, after that first donation, I learned that I have A+ blood type. A+ blood means that I have the highest grade of blood in the world,” he said, laughing. “This is a lie that I’ve continued to perpetuate over time.”
The Red Cross celebrates Jasper’s milestone. We are proud to have blood and platelet donors like him, passionate people who share the gift of life. Congratulations Jasper on your incredible achievement!