Sickle cell disease is the most common genetic disorder in the United States, and patients rely on 15 to 25 blood transfusions a year. The Sickle Cell Donor Program was started by Lurie Children’s and the American Red Cross to improve transfusion support for children with sickle cell disease.
Sickle cell disease affects approximately 70,000 African Americans. The best match for an African-American child with sickle cell disease usually comes from an African-American blood donor. While African Americans comprise nearly 13% of the United States population, they represent less than 1% of blood donors.
It’s important that blood donors reflect the ethnic diversity of the patients who receive their blood. Since children with sickle cell disease often need many blood transfusions, it is best for them to receive blood that very closely matches their own in order to minimize complications.
Ask for a "blue tag" at any American Red Cross blood drive in the metropolitan Chicago area, and your donation could help a child with sickle cell disease. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification, are required at check-in. Eligible donors must be at least 17-years-old, or 16-years-old with a signed Red Cross parental/guardian consent form where state permits, must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general good health.
To make an appointment or for more information, please call the American Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1.800.448.3543). All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.