Help ease patient pain during Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Press Staff Writer

        During Sickle Cell Awareness Month in September, the American Red Cross emphasizes the importance of a diverse blood supply to help meet the needs of those with sickle cell disease – the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S.
        Sickle cell disease impacts more than 100,000 people across the country, most of whom are of African descent. Regular blood transfusions are critical to managing extreme pain and life-threatening complications faced by many. Unfortunately, they may develop an immune response against blood from donors that is not closely matched to their own.
        However, because most individuals who are Black have unique structures on their red blood cells that are not often found in other donor populations, one in three African American blood donors is a match for people with sickle cell disease.
        Sickle cell disease distorts soft, round blood cells and turns them hard and crescent-shaped, which can cause severe pain. When cells harden, they can get caught in blood vessels, potentially leading to stroke and organ failure. Transfusions provide healthy blood cells, unblocking blood vessels and delivering oxygen, minimizing crises patients with sickle cell may face. Seasonal changes can trigger pain crises for those battling sickle cell – possibly increasing the need for lifesaving blood transfusions.
        To help ensure patients have the blood products they need, the American Red Cross is working with partners in the Black community to grow the number of blood donors who are Black through the sickle cell initiative, which launched in 2021. In September and October, the Red Cross launches Joined by Blood, a fall component of the initiative where the Red Cross is teaming up with community organizations to host blood drives and inspire donors who are Black to give blood to support patients with sickle cell disease.
        To learn more, visit
        The Red Cross is currently in need of all blood types. A number of blood drives are scheduled locally in September. They include:
        • Toledo Blood Donation Center, 3510 Executive Parkway: Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
        • Bowling Green: Sept. 30, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Wood County Hospital, 950 W. Wooster St.
        • Oak Harbor: Sept. 16, 12-5 p.m., St. John’s Lutheran, 122 W. Ottawa St.
        • Oregon: Sept 29, 12:30-6:30 p.m., Mercy Health – St. Charles Hospital, 2600 Navarre Ave.
        • Pemberville: Sept. 20, 12 p.m.-6 p.m., Pemberville American Legion, 405 East Front St.
        • Perrysburg: Sept. 15, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Owens Community College, 7315 Championship Dr.; Sept. 16, 12-6 p.m., Zoar Lutheran Church, 314 East Indiana Ave.; Sept. 26, 1-6 p.m., Perrysburg Schools Board of Education, 140 East Indiana Ave.
        • Walbridge: Sept. 28, 1-7 p.m., Mainstreet Church, 5465 Moline-Martin Rd.
        As summer ends, book a time to give blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at or use the Blood Donor App.
        As a thank-you, all who come to give through Sept. 18 will get an exclusive Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.


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