Sickle cell disease is the most common genetic disease in the U.S., affecting about 100,000 people — including Black and Hispanic Americans and people of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian descent. The disease causes red blood cells to be stiff and sickle shaped, producing symptoms including extreme pain, acute anemia, tissue and organ damage, and even strokes. Though there is no readily available cure, blood transfusions—as many as 10 units every month—are an important treatment to help prevent or reduce symptoms.
Having a readily available and diverse blood supply is important to meeting the medical needs of an increasingly diverse patient population.
Diversifying our Blood Donor Base to Address a Gap
In order to best meet the needs of people living with sickle cell disease, we are launching an all-encompassing campaign to triple the number of Black blood donors by the end of 2023. This work includes:
- Working with partners focused on diversity to better communicate the need to new donors.
- Hosting more blood drives in diverse communities.
-Ensuring a level of front-line staff diversity that best reflects the diversity of the communities in which they serve, including actively engaging diverse volunteers.
A donation of $77 covers the cost to test, type and match blood for one unit of blood to be used by a patient suffering from Sickle Cell Disease.
A donation of $385 covers the cost to test, type and match blood for 5 patients suffering from Sickle Cell disease.