MORRISTOWN, NJ -  The American Red Cross urges people of all races and ethnicities to give blood to help ensure a diverse blood supply for patients in need. On Saturday September 29, the Calvary Baptist Church located at 10 Martin Luther King Avenue will host a blood drive from 10:30am - 3:30pm.

The vast majority of blood types fall into one of the major ABO groups, stated the Red Cross. The organization is urging everyone to donate blood  so that there is a diverse blood supply which can meet the needs of a diverse patient population. .

Twelve-year-old Braden Green required blood transfusions to treat complications from sickle cell disease. “It saved his life, that blood transfusion,” said his mom, Brenda Green. “A blood donation can give a patient another chance at life or an opportunity to get through the day.”

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In the U.S., about 100,000 people of various racial and ethnic backgrounds, approximately 90 percent of whom are of African descent, are living with sickle cell disease. Regular blood transfusions are often used as a critical treatment for sickle cell patients, and blood donated by someone with a similar ethnicity is less likely to cause complications, stated the Red Cross.

“Sickle cell disease profoundly impacts the quality of life of those living with this inherited blood disorder, and your blood donation could be the donation that helps a patient keep fighting,” said Alana Mauger, communications manager for the Penn Jersey Blood Services Region. “The Red Cross encourages eligible donors to roll up a sleeve and share their strength with patients during Sickle Cell Awareness Month.”

Sickle cell disease causes red blood cells to be hard and crescent-shaped. This makes it difficult for blood to flow smoothly and carry oxygen to the rest of the body, which may lead to severe pain, tissue and organ damage, acute anemia and even strokes. Blood transfusions can minimize some of the health risks caused by sickle cell disease.

Blood given to patients with rare blood types or those who need repeated transfusions for conditions such as sickle cell disease or thalassemia must be matched very closely. Patients are less likely to have complications from blood donated by someone with a similar racial or ethnic background.

To donate, a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. 

Additional locations in Morristown include a blood drive on Tuesday October 2, Headquarters Plaza, 37 Headquarters Plaza from 10am - 3pm. On Tuesday October 23 at the College of Saint Elizabeth Saint Joseph Hall, 2 Convent Road from 11am - 4pm.

 

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