Blood Saves Lives: Helping People with Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease is the most common genetic disease in the U.S., affecting about 100,000 people—primarily Black or African Americans. The disease causes red blood cells to be stiff and sickle shaped, sometimes blocking small blood vessels as they carry oxygen throughout the body and producing symptoms including extreme pain, acute anemia, tissue and organ damage, and even strokes. Though there is no readily available cure, frequent blood transfusions—as many as 10 units every month—help reduce these symptoms.
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs lifesaving blood. For people like Braden, the demand for blood is constant, as regular transfusions are a vital part of managing his sickle cell disease.
"[That blood transfusion] saved his life…A blood donation can give a patient another chance at life or an opportunity to get through the day.”
Brenda, whose son Braden has fought the effects of sickle cell disease—from pneumonia to a minor stroke—with the help of multiple blood transfusions. Brenda is a dedicated advocate of blood donations, particularly in the Black and African American communities, where sickle cell disease is most common.