Philly blood drive kicks off Sickle Cell Awareness Month, offers genetic testing to attendees
The American Red Cross and Crescent Foundation are holding a blood drive in Philadelphia on Sept. 9.
The drive will be held on Thursday, Sept. 9 at the Red Cross House, on 4000 Powelton Ave. It will go from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sickle cell disease (SCD) encompasses inherited disorders that affect red blood cells. SCD patients may experience pain, dehydration, exhaustion, and headaches.
In the United States, sickle cell disease disproportionately affects Black and Latino communities and is the most common inherited genetic blood disorder in the United States.
The CDC elaborates that SCD is particularly common among people whose ancestors came from sub-Saharan Africa and Spanish-speaking regions in the Western Hemisphere.
People with ancestors from “(South America, the Caribbean, and Central America); Saudi Arabia; India; and Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy,” are most likely to be affected, according to the CDC.
Patients with SCD may need to undergo specific treatments: specific requirements for donated blood, potentially several emergency blood transfusions throughout a year, and regular blood transfusions.
National Sickle Cell Awareness Month was designated by Congress to place emphasis on the need for research and treatment on sickle cell disease.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Red Cross has dealt with multiple blood shortages. As reported by WHYY, the American Red Cross are focusing energy towards combating demand concerns amid COVID-19 case upticks and the active hurricane season.
SCD patients may have to extend the period between treatments during blood shortages. This can lead to an array of complications including pain and emergency health scares and visits.
The Crescent Foundation will also be offering free genetic testing at the Sept. 9 blood drive. These tests will determine if individuals carry the single cell trait.
Typically, people discover they carry the trait after learning a child has SCD. Both parents must carry the trait for a child to develop the disease.
Appointments are recommended but not required for the Sept. 9 blood drive.