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Donate Blood to Help Local Sickle Cell Patients Thrive

Sickle Cell Disease

Did you know Sickle Cell Disease is the most common hereditary disorder in the United States?

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a severe blood disease that occurs when abnormal, sickle-shaped red blood cells block regular blood flow, causing a patient to experience excruciating pain. SCD typically leads to Sickle cell anemia which often leads to other chronic health conditions affecting the heart, liver, and kidneys, and creates a higher risk for stroke. Although there is no cure, blood transfusions and blood exchanges help relieve the pain a patient is experiencing by providing healthy red blood cells that deliver oxygen throughout the body more freely.

Can Blood Donations Help Sickle Cell Patients? 

Sickle Cell anemia affects over 100,000 people in the United States. People who live with sickle cell manage the illness through blood transfusions and exchanges throughout their life.

Local patients Selina and Brianna were born with Sickle Cell Disease. Voluntary unpaid blood donations help ensure blood is on the shelves for life-sustaining treatments that lead to a healthier and happier life.

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Selina was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease at two weeks old, which caused a brain disease and a stroke. Today, Selina receives monthly blood exchanges that remove and replace sickle red blood cells with healthy red blood cells. This process minimizes pain and creates a better quality of life. 

Selina’s mother, Yolanda, is grateful to San Diego Blood Bank and blood donors who help people in need like her daughter.

“Selina’s blood transfusions and blood exchanges have helped her health in many ways by keeping her sickle cell levels down and reducing her pain levels so she has minor pain crisis in her body. My daughter Selina and I thank every [blood donor] from the bottom of our beating hearts for your selfless gift. It will go a long way as you have given Selina a lifeline, just at the right time.”
— Yolanda, Selina's Mother (pictured middle)

Brianna was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease at birth. She has received multiple blood transfusions as part of her treatment until she underwent surgery to remove her spleen. Brianna has not needed blood transfusions since her surgery, but may require blood transfusions in the future. Because of blood donors, Brianna is thriving today.  

There is a critical need to find blood donors who match the ethnicities of Sickle Cell patients 

The majority of people living with Sickle Cell Disorder are of African descent. And one in three Black donors is a match for a sickle cell patient who may require blood. San Diego Blood Bank urges the African American community to consider becoming blood donors. Blood donors of African American ancestry are an important source of blood for patients living with sickle cell disease. Blood from donors—who share a recipient’s blood type AND ethnic origin —provide the very best care for patients like Brianna and Selina. 

Your blood donations directly impact the health of local neighbors and friends with sickle cell disease. 

Donate blood for Sickle Cell Awareness Month and World Sickle Cell Day

Be a beacon of hope for patients battling sickle cell by donating blood in September for Sickle Cell Awareness Month, on June 19 for World Sickle Cell Day, and whenever you are eligible to donate. Patients like Selina and Brianna are grateful for blood donors who make time to give the gift of life. 

To donate blood, donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 114 pounds, and be in general good health. Find a blood donation location.

If you are unable to donate, we encourage you to share the importance of blood donation with friends and family and invite them to save a life by donating blood.   

Want to learn more about becoming a blood donor?

Click here to read FAQs. Learn answers to all your blood donation process and eligibility requirement questions and who in the community can benefit from lifesaving blood transfusions.

Related Stories

SDBB Blog | "Blood Donation Stories: Sisters Helping Sisters Survive and Thrive"

Sources and Resources About Sickle Cell Disease

Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals (ADRP) Public Awareness Resources
NIH | National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute | September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month

CDC | Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) - What is the Sickle Cell Trait
CDC | What is Sickle Cell Disease

CDC | Data and Statistics on Sickle Cell Disease
CDC | Infographic: 5 Facts You Should Know About Sickle Cell Disease