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  1. The Blood Donor Shortage and How You Can Help

    January 16, 2018 by Andrea

    blood donor shortage

    All that snow, ice, and flooding that hit a slew of states a couple weeks ago didn't just ground flights, close schools, and interrupt other plans, it also caused blood drives to be cancelled, resulting in a severe blood donor shortage, according to TIME. Hospitals rely on blood donors to help save the lives of people during emergencies, as well as the lives of those who live with diseases such as sickle cell. Just take a quick look at the Red Cross's homepage, and you'll see a bold call: "Blood Donations Urgently Needed", followed by an easy way to find a drive near you.

    TIME reports that in addition to winter weather, a severe flu outbreak has also hampered the collection of donations -- a loss of about 28,000. The article goes on to say that the blood the Red Cross needs most right now is Type B negative and Type O negative, the latter being the universal blood type. Platelets, which must be used within the first few days of donation, and therefore run out quickly, are also desperately needed.

    As January is National Blood Donor month, now is the perfect time to help the Red Cross recover from its donation deficit, and ensure that more lives can continue being saved. Real talk, in order to maintain a healthy supply of blood, the Red Cross states that it must receive more than 13,000 donations per day! Unfortunately, though, only 10 percent of eligible U.S. donors give blood.

    It doesn't have to be that way, though. If you're 17 years of age or older, weight at least 110 pounds, and are generally healthy, you can donate. And, if you'd like to make sure your donation specifically goes to a sickle cell warrior, you can do that, too.

    Why not start today?


  2. This Choir’s Cover of “Rise Up” Encourages People to Donate Blood for Sickle Cell Warriors

    December 12, 2017 by Andrea
    B Positive Choir

    Photo: Twitter



    The English-Welsh health organization, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), has partnered with the British music awards show, MOBO, for the second year in a row to push for an increase in blood donations. Understanding that diversity in the blood supply is extremely important, especially since sickle cell disproportionately affects people of African descent, NHSBT and MOBO have created a new addition to this year's partnership: the B Positive Choir. 

    A 60-member singing group composed of sickle cell warriors, caregivers, friends, and family from all over England, the B Positive Choir most recently performed at the MOBO Awards show, which re-aired last night (Monday, Dec. 11) on BET International. Today, the choir also released their very first single -- a cover of Andra Day's "Rise Up" -- to motivate people to "'Rise Up' and be counted as blood donors." 

    Currently, the NHSBT states on their website that they are in need of 200,000 new blood donors -- 40,000 of whom need to be Black, so the closest blood match can be given to Black warriors who desperately need it. 

    If you live in the UK, you can register to give blood here. In the U.S., visit redcrossblood.org to find a blood drive near you. 

    In the meantime, be sure to check out the B Positive Choir's MOBO awards show performance below: 


  3. Why Diversifying the Blood Supply is So Important

    September 26, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: Flickr | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Photo: Flickr | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0



    We've talked about blood donation a couple of times here at Xickle. Last week, we shared stories of Warriors who are alive today because of such donations, and last year, we brought attention to National Blood Donor Month. To close out Sickle Cell Awareness Month, we want to discuss another related area: the need for more diversity among blood donors. It's true, sickle cell can affect anyone, as we all have blood; however, it affects more African Americans than any other ethnic group. But according to tacklesicklecell.org, only 7.3% of all blood donations in the U.S. come from Black people.

    "Certain blood types are unique to specific racial and ethinc groups," says the Red Cross. "Therefore, it is essential that the donor diversity match the patient diversity. For example, U-negative and Duffy-negative blood types are unique to the African-American community. So, sickle cell patients with these blood types must rely on donors with matching blood types in the African-American community."

    Warriors rely on blood donations often -- transfusions are a common need. Thankfully, the Red Cross makes it super easy for people to designate their blood donation to a person with sickle cell. Here's how: Simply visit your local Red Cross center, give blood, and let the clinicians know that you want to participate in the Blue Tag program. Open only to the Black community, the Blue Tag program marks donations specifically for use in patients with sickle cell.

    Besides giving blood yourself, you can help increase diversity in the national blood supply by hosting a blood drive in your area or by creating a SleevesUp campaign to pledge your donation and encourage your family and friends to do the same.

    In order to  ensure that Warriors receiving blood are at lower risk of rejecting the donation and causing more complications, it is imperative that more Black people give blood. "Minority and diverse populations ... play a critical role in meeting the constant need for blood, " the Red Cross confirms.

    Have you ever donated or received blood? Share your story below!

     


  4. Giving Blood Helps: 4 Sickle Cell Warriors Share Their Stories

    September 15, 2016 by Andrea

    We all know how important it is to donate blood for sickle cell patients, but we don't always know the actual impact our donations have on the recipients' lives. In honor of donors, soon-to-be-donors, and warriors everywhere this Sickle Cell Awareness Month, we'd like to highlight a few stories from those whose lives have been made better through blood donation.

    1) Taytiana's Story




    2) Marquita's Story



    3) Stacey's Story



    4) Joshua's Story



    Do you have an experience to share about how blood donation has touched your life -- whether a donor or warrior? Tell us in the comments below!


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