Red Cross initiative aims to increase blood availability for patients with sickle cell disease
Blood transfusions from donors who are Black may provide best outcomes for patients
SALT LAKE CITY (Sept. 15, 2021) — When patients living with sickle cell disease face a sickle cell crisis, blood transfusions can make a lifesaving difference. That’s why the American Red Cross has launched an initiative to grow the number of blood donors who are Black to help patients with sickle cell disease, an enduring and often invisible health disparity in the U.S.
Over 100,000 people in the U.S. have sickle cell disease, the most common inherited blood disorder, and the majority of patients are of African descent. Despite the discovery of the disease more than a century ago, there have been fewer health resources available to help those currently suffering from sickle cell crisis in comparison to similar diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with sickle cell disease experience worse health outcomes than comparable diseases.
A closer blood match leads to better outcomes
Many patients with sickle cell disease will require regular blood transfusions to help manage their disease. Unfortunately, these patients may develop an immune response against blood from donors that is not closely matched to their own. Many individuals who are Black have distinct markers on their red blood cells that make their donations ideal for helping patients with sickle cell disease. More than half of blood donors who are Black have blood that is free of C, E and K antigens – making them the best match for those with sickle cell disease.
The Red Cross asks members of the Black community to join in helping to address this health disparity and meet the needs of patients with sickle cell disease. Donors can take action today by scheduling a blood donation appointment at RedCrossBlood.org, by downloading the Blood Donor App or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. To help tackle the need for blood in September – Sickle Cell Awareness Month − all donors who come to give with the Red Cross Sept. 13-30 will receive a limited-edition football-themed T-shirt, while supplies last.
Sickle cell disease distorts soft, round blood cells and turns them hard and crescent-shaped, which can cause extreme pain. When hardened, the cells can get caught in blood vessels, potentially leading to stroke and organ failure.
“Transfusions provide healthy blood cells, unblocking blood vessels and delivering oxygen,” said <name>, <Red Cross title>. “By increasing the amount of closely matched blood products, the Red Cross is able to help ensure the right blood product is available at the right time for patients facing a sickle cell crisis – minimizing complications for those with rare blood types fighting sickle cell disease.”
Every transfusion counts
Seventeen-year-old Demarus Torrence loves comics and sci-fi movies, and he balances his work in high school while living with sickle cell disease. He endures monthly blood transfusions, and, at times, regular hospital stays to help with extreme pain and other complications. “Just imagine someone hitting your back with a hammer, constantly, and it just won’t stop,” says Demarus’ mother, Passion Terrell. “[Demarus] describes it, and you can picture it, but you really can’t.”
Demarus is the only person in his immediate family with the disease, though testing has revealed other family members carry the sickle cell trait. As a mother, Passion has made it her mission to care for her beloved son and to inspire others to give blood – especially individuals who are Black and people who have never donated. The family hosted a Red Cross blood drive at Demarus’ school this month to highlight that generous donations can mean a world of difference to people like him. “It’s amazing – once he gets that blood in him, it’s like a different person,” Passion said. “His breathing improves; his blood levels improve. It’s like his body wakes up.”
Community partners lending support
Partnerships with national and local organizations within the Black community are critical to building trust, sharing information and working together to engage new donors to help save lives. Nationally, the Red Cross is thrilled to announce new partnerships with preeminent organizations like the NAACP and 100 Black Men of America, Inc. to raise awareness about sickle cell disease as a persisting and heartbreaking health disparity, and to help patients with sickle cell disease by encouraging blood donations from individuals who are Black.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities Sept. 15-30:
9/17/2021: 11 a.m. - 3:15 p.m., Intermountain Bountiful, 390 North Main St.
9/20/2021: 12:30 p.m. - 5 p.m., Lakeview Hospital, 630 East Medical Dr.
9/30/2021: 2:30 p.m. - 8 p.m., Bountiful Val Verda Stake, 2633 South 50 West
9/13/2021: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Tru Hotel 2AVS, 640 North Falcon Hillls Dr.
9/16/2021: 2:30 p.m. - 8 p.m., Clinton Utah West Stake, 2141 West 1800 North
9/16/2021: 3 p.m. - 8 p.m., Clinton Utah North Stake, 1800 North 1500 West
9/15/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Farmington South, 850 South 50 East
Hill Air Force Base
9/24/2021: 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Hill Air Force Base, 5711 E Ave, Base Chapel, Building 445
9/16/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Kaysville Central Stake, 200 East Center
9/23/2021: 2:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Syracuse Utah Bluff Stake, 700 South 2500 West
9/23/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., West Point Utah Stake, 550 North 2300 West
9/29/2021: 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Utah's Paramedic & EMS Academy, 1290 South 500 West, Ste., 200
9/17/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Herriman Stake, 5562 W 13680 S
9/27/2021: 8:15 a.m. - 2:15 p.m., Herriman High School, 11917 South Mustang Trail Way
9/17/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Midvale Stake, 8171 S Jackson St.
9/20/2021: 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., HNTB Engineering, 7730 Union Park Ave.
9/21/2021: 3 p.m. - 8 p.m., Salt Lake Millcreek Stake, 4220 S 420 E
9/24/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Riverton Utah Western Springs Stake, 12691 South 3600 West
Salt Lake City
9/15/2021: 11 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., St. Marks Hospital, 1200 East 3900 South, South Parking Lot
9/15/2021: 1:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 261 South 900 East
9/15/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Salt Lake Granite Park Stake, 601 East Mansfield Ave.
9/16/2021: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., St. Marks Hospital, 1200 East 3900 South, South Parking Lot
9/16/2021: 3 p.m. - 8 p.m., Holladay South Stake, 5450 South Holladay Blvd.
9/20/2021: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Harmons Brickyard, 3270 South 1300 East
9/20/2021: 2 p.m. - 7:15 p.m., Holladay Library, 2150 East Murray Holladay Rd.
9/21/2021: 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Salt Lake Community College (Redwood Campus), 4600 S. Redwood Road
9/21/2021: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., ComForCare Home Care, 7069 South Highland Dr.
9/21/2021: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Salt Lake Cottonwood Stake, 1830 East 6400 South
9/22/2021: 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Salt Lake Community College (Redwood Campus), 4600 S. Redwood Road
9/23/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., East Millcreek Stake, 3103 East 3600 South
9/27/2021: 7 a.m. - 1 p.m., Friends & Family of ARC, SLC, 6616 South 900 East
9/27/2021: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Millie's Princess Foundation, 6616 S. 900 E.
9/28/2021: 7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., Granger High School, 3580 South 3600 West
9/28/2021: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, 383 South University Street
9/28/2021: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., SL Hardware, 155 N 400 W
Salt Lake City
9/28/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Brighton Point Ward, 3455 East 7800 South
Salt Lake City
9/29/2021: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Salt Lake City Department of Airports, 3920 W. Terminal Dr.
9/29/2021: 2:30 p.m. - 8 p.m., Salt Lake Parley's Stake Center, 1870 East Parleys Canyon Blvd.
9/30/2021: 2:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Office Depot - Interpointe Shopping Center, 281 W 2100 South
9/13/2021: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Salt Lake Community College (Miller Campus), 9750 South 300 West - Building 5, Miller Business Resource Center - Powder Mountain Room 101
9/16/2021: 3 p.m. - 8 p.m., Sandy Crescent South Stake, 257 East 10600 South
9/17/2021: 2:30 p.m. - 8 p.m., Sandy Utah Hidden Valley Stake, 1450 East Raddon Drive, (12035 South)
9/22/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Sandy Willow Creek Stake, 2350 East Creek Rd.
9/28/2021: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Sandy Library, 10100 Petunia Way
9/16/2021: 1:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Taylorsville South Stake, 4932 South 3200 West
9/13/2021: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Jordan Landing Plaza, 3646 Center View Way
9/13/2021: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., West Jordan City Hall, 8000 South Redwood Rd.
9/17/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., West Jordan Copper Hills Stake, 5176 West Parr Dr.
9/23/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Jordan Oaks Stake, 7875 South 4000 West
9/24/2021: 3 p.m. - 8 p.m., West Jordan Utah Oquirrh Stake Third Ward Bldg., 6673 South Clernates Dr.
9/30/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., West Jordan Utah Prairie Stake, 7337 South Grizzly Way
9/30/2021: 3 p.m. - 8 p.m., West Jordan Utah River Stake Center, 1380 West 6785 South
West Valley City
9/17/2021: 2:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Hunter East Stake, 5000 W Pavant Ave. (3800 S)
9/29/2021: 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., TRA Snow and Sun Inc., 1657 So. 580 East
9/30/2021: 8 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., CIT Electronics, 752 E. State, Ste., A-6
9/30/2021: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Cedar Hills Utah Stake/Bayhill Building, 10351 N. Bayhill Dr.
9/13/2021: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Thanksgiving Park, 2000 W. Ashton Blvd.
9/22/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Lehi Utah Cedar Hollow Stake, 2178 North 1200 East
9/15/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Lindon West Stake Center, 250 W. 600 S.
9/22/2021: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Fluent, 2578 w 600 n, Ste., 100
9/24/2021: 3 p.m. - 8 p.m., Mapleton City Center, 125 West 400 North
9/21/2021: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Utah Valley University, 800 West University Prkwy., Mail Stop #197
9/21/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Orem Park Stake, 195 West 300 South
9/25/2021: 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Orem Utah Stonewood Stake, 575 South 400 West
9/27/2021: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Utah Valley University Business Resource Center, 815 w 1250 s
9/29/2021: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Zamp HR, 898 North 1200 West
9/29/2021: 4 p.m. - 9 p.m., Provo Utah YSA 10th Stake, 735 East 800 South
9/30/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Orem Geneva Heights Stake, 590 N. 900 W.
9/21/2021: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Dental Intelligence, 2100 Pleasant Grove Blvd, Ste., 400
9/25/2021: 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., Pleasant Grove Utah Manila Stake, 3396 North 900 West
9/13/2021: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Wilkinson Center, Wilkinson Center, BYU Campus
9/13/2021: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Provo Community Congregational United Church Of Christ, 175 n University Avenue
9/17/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Provo Utah Freedom Stake, 835 S 500 W
9/20/2021: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Provo Multi-Stake Building, 352 N. 900 E.
9/22/2021: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Riverside Country Club, 2701 N. University Ave.
9/24/2021: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Tanner Building W121, TNRB, Brigham Young University
9/24/2021: 3 p.m. - 8 p.m., Provo West Stake, 2225 West 620 North
9/27/2021: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Wilkinson Center, Wilkinson Center, BYU Campus
9/29/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Gift Of Life, 1600 N. 900 E.
9/30/2021: 3 p.m. - 8 p.m., Sharon East Stake, 2400 North 1060 East
9/15/2021: 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., Alpine School District Transportation Department, 337 North Thunder Blvd. (200 West)
9/15/2021: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Saratoga Springs Utah Stake, 49 W. Tanner Lane
9/16/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Saratoga Springs Utah Mount Saratoga Springs Stake, 612 W Pony Express Pkwy
9/17/2021: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Saratoga Springs Utah Israel Canyon Stake, 136 W Summerhill Dr.
9/13/2021: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Memorial Building, 386 North Main
9/22/2021: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Spanish Fork Utah Stake, 1006 East 200 South
9/30/2021: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m., Spanish Fork Utah East Stake, 1158 East 1240 S
9/21/2021: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Reams Springville Market, 759 East 400 South
9/29/2021: 3 p.m. - 8 p.m., Springville Stake, 355 East Center St.
9/15/2021: 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Capstone Nutrition, 900 S. Depot Dr.
9/29/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., Ogden Utah Mount Lewis Stake, 1150 N. Monroe
9/24/2021: 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m., America First Credit Union, 1344 West 4675 South
9/30/2021: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m., West Haven Ward Building, 3628 South 2700 West
Blood drive safety
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.
Health insights for donors
At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease who require trait-negative blood. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.
Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
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 not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.