Did you know Sickle Cell Disease is the most common hereditary disorder in the United States?
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) occurs when abnormally shaped red blood cells block regular blood flow, causing a patient to experience excruciating pain and at risk for strokes and liver damage. Although there is no cure, blood transfusions help relieve the pain a patient is experiencing.
Sickle Cell affects over 100,000 people in the United States. People who live with sickle cell manage the illness by receiving blood transfusions throughout their life.
Local patients Selina and Brianna were born with Sickle Cell Disease and have relied on voluntary blood donations to stay strong and healthy.
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.
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. These donations directly impact local families, neighbors, and friends with sickle cell disease. Regular blood transfusions and blood exchanges help sickle cell patients manage widespread pain and provide vital treatments for a healthier and happier life.
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.
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.
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.