Without the proper circulation of healthy blood cells throughout your body it would be impossible for you to survive. Unfortunately many people are born with genetic conditions that affect the formation of healthy blood cells. Sickle Cell Disease is one such condition that affects the hemoglobin in the red blood cells. Hemoglobin is the main ingredient in red blood cells; its function is to carry oxygen throughout the body. Although Sickle Cell can occur in any ethnic group, historically it has shown a higher prevalence in persons of African American descent.
As the sickle cells travel through the body they can get stuck and block blood flow to certain areas of the body causing pain, infection, or other serious problems such as a stroke. Often Sickle Cell patients will receive many lifesaving blood transfusions during their lifetime due to the lack of healthy red cells in their body. Currently less than 1% of annual blood donations come from persons of African American descent. In patients who receive multiple blood transfusions, donor patient compatibility is crucial. Transfusion related complications can lead to organ failure and even death. Heartland Blood Centers urges all ethnicities to donate on behalf of those in your communities that are in need.
Healthy You – Healthy Me:
Your body has 10 pints of blood
Your Blood has 3 main components
Red Cells: Carry oxygen and transport carbon dioxide
Platelets: Body’s first line of defense against internal and external bleeding
Plasma: Carrier of minerals and hormones
Regular donations stimulate the productions of new blood cells
Donating reduces the risk of hemochromatosis, cancer, heart abnormalities, cirrhosis and liver failure
Add Blood donation to your healthy living lifestyle today!
Knowledge is Power:
1 in 12 African Americans 1 in 100 Hispanics are born with sickle cell trait yearly
Sickle Cell Trait affects the hemoglobin in your red blood cells.
Everyone inherits two hemoglobin genes – one from each parent
If one parent has Sickle Cell Trait, there is a 50% having a child with Sickle Cell Trait
Sickle Cell Trait rarely causes serious health problems
If both parents have Sickle Cell Trait, there is a 25% chance of having a child with Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle Cell Disease is a life long illness that can cause serious health problems
Heartland Blood Centers understand the importance of knowing your blood type, as a courtesy to all donors we will notify you of your blood type after you donate
Knowing your status is important, if you have a family history of Sickle Cell Disease and don’t know if you have the trait please see your physician to get tested
It starts the day before: Eat a good meal and get a good night’s sleep.
Before you donate: Eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and drink lots of water
The donation process: Registration, screening, a mini physical, donation and refreshments.
After Donating: Drink plenty of water, eat a healthy meal (salty foods are better in helping restore blood volume) and avoid strenuous activity such as heavy lifting, pushing or pulling.
How Can I Help?
1. Become a Routine Blood Donor
The time to donate is NOW, by donating blood regularly you ensure that those in your community will never go without the blood they need to survive. Blood donated through the RED IS LIFE program will be genotyped for compatibility and used to increase the quality of life for sickle cell patients in the greater Chicagoland area.
2. Host a Blood Drive
Most patients requiring blood transfusions use multiple units of blood. Hosting a blood drive is a simple way to give back to your community and save many lives!
3. Spread the Word
Giving the gift of life is a simple process that takes approximately 45 minutes but many people don’t know how easy it is. Tell your family and friends about the RED IS LIFE program and encourage them to donate today.
If you’re passionate about saving lives and giving back, you can volunteer your time at one of the RED IS LIFE blood drives.
Heartland Blood Centers and the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois are both 501(c) 3 nonprofit organizations, if you would like to make a financial contribution please contact us Redislife@heartlandbc.org
To support the program by making a lifesaving blood donation please attend one of our mobile blood drives