HEALTH

During Sickle Cell Awareness month, American Red Cross seeks donations

Sep 13, 2022, 2:00 PM | Updated: 2:06 pm
sickle cell...
Concern over the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus have seen blood donation and drives fall far below what hospitals need. (Screen grab from American Red Cross video.)
(Screen grab from American Red Cross video.)

SALT LAKE CITY  — September is Sickle Cell Awareness month and it’s a great time to find a local American Red Cross for a donation. As fall approaches, changes in the weather and temperature can cause pain and discomfort for people with the disease.

Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disease where a person has crescent-shaped red blood cells. The cells harden and get stuck in blood vessels leading to extreme pain and anemia.

Those suffering from sickle cell anemia need blood transfusions regularly. Transfusions replace and replenish red blood cells to ease the pain and discomfort.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, blood donations have dropped significantly. “People were slow to return to give blood. Just as they were slow to return to anything that put you in close proximity to anybody,” said Keith Paul from the American Red Cross.

“Our nationwide blood supply is down 20% just in the past few weeks,” he also said.  

Hospitals and others use blood donations in a variety of ways and a single donation can go far. “Just one pint of blood can save three lives and the only way you can get transfusable blood, is through donations,” Paul told KSL NewsRadio.

Any time that you need blood whether it’s for sickle cell anemia, cancer or emergency surgery, it is coming from someone that took time to donate blood.”  

If you donate in Utah, your blood will usually stay within the state, unless it is in high demand elsewhere. By downloading the app, you can track where your blood goes, and what it is used for. Sign up to donate or find a local blood drive and save a life, or three. 

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During Sickle Cell Awareness month, American Red Cross seeks donations