Sickle Cell program
Sickle Cell is a common genetic (inherited) blood disorder that causes red blood cells to create abnormal hemoglobin – the protein that allows red blood cells to carry oxygen to organs and tissue. These red blood cells form an abnormal crescent shape and don’t move easily through blood vessels sometimes blocking blood flow. Severe pain, tissue damage, serious infections and even stroke are the byproducts of Sickle Cell. Though not unique to African-Americans, 98% of individuals diagnosed in the U.S. with Sickle Cell are African-American.
Many Sickle Cell patients rely on blood transfusions for their treatment. Research shows that more than half of all persons with Sickle Cell will require a blood transfusion in their lifetime and the majority will require multiple transfusions, using an average of four units per month.
Genetically-similar blood is preferred for those who need repeated blood transfusions, and for conditions like Sickle Cell. Blood more closely matched to a patient’s is less likely to be rejected and can mean fewer complications after a transfusion. Currently, our community does not have enough local African-American donors to meet local patient needs.
CBCC is working to create a registry of African-American donors whose blood type and traits are matched with a local Sickle Cell patient. In order to do this, we need more African-American blood donors.