The American Red Cross celebrates National Blood Donor Month and recognizes the lifesaving contribution of blood and platelet donors. National Blood Donor Month has been observed in January since 1970 with the goal of increasing blood and platelet donations during winter – one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood products to meet patient needs. During the winter months, inclement weather often results in cancelled blood drives, and seasonal illnesses like the flu may cause some donors to become temporarily unable to donate.
Those living with sickle cell disease urgently need ethnic minorities to give blood. Blood from people of similar race and ethnicity is important in ensuring the best transfusion results, with the least potential reaction.
SAVED BY THE BLOOD ……
Martin loves to read and play video games. He enjoys puzzles, tinkering with technology, and dreams of working for Apple as a software engineer. As a patient with sickle cell disease, he relies on monthly blood transfusions to stay healthy.
Tymia has been hospitalized 49 times, received 45 blood transfusions, and undergone surgery to remove her spleen and gall bladder. None of that stopped this dynamic girl who in 2015 won Miss South Carolina Pre-Teen. Tymia said, ‘Without the Red Cross and blood donations, I wouldn’t be who I am today.’
Lydia was diagnosed with SCD when she was two months old. By age 19, she had received over 100 pints of blood. In 2004, Lydia was admitted to the hospital for a sickle cell crisis, spent six weeks in intensive care, and received 35 pints of blood. Now in her twenties, she’s an experienced public speaker and advocate for sickle cell disease patients.