ROANOKE, Va. – The Red Cross is sounding the alarm this Sickle Cell Awareness Month about what they call a critically-low supply of blood from Black donors.
According to the Red Cross, about 100,000 people in the U.S. are living with sickle cell disease. Most of them are of African or Latino descent.
Those patients are more likely to find a compatible blood match from a donor who is Black.
Black blood donations have dropped significantly, going from more than 15,000 at school drives in 2019 to only 2,700 this year.
“Over a lifetime, folks with sickle cell have many blood transfusions and they need to have that blood ready and available and it’s just an awful disease that requires so much blood and so much care and we really need to get those donors out to our drive,” said Jackie Grant, the executive director of the Southwest Virginia chapter of the American Red Cross.
A blood drive to help sickle cell patients is happening at the Red Cross office in Roanoke on Sept. 29 from 12 to 6 p.m.