September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month and two national Greek organizations – Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – are hosting the DFW Joint Sickle Cell Blood Drive at AT&T Stadium, Lot 10, on Saturday, September 9th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The blood drive coordinators, Jamie D. Grant and Jamita Barnett-Machen, believe donating blood is all about giving people with sickle cell disease a better life.
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a hereditary blood disorder that is associated with anemia, stroke, attacks of debilitating pain, severe infections, or even death. It is estimated that one out of every 365 members of the black community has SCD. In a person living with SCD, the red blood cells become sickle-shaped, causing them to stick together and block the blood flow. Sickled cells also have a short lifespan of only 10 to 20 days, as opposed to the normal 90- to 120-day lifespan of a healthy and round red blood cell. Often, people living with SCD require monthly transfusions for life to provide them with round red cells. Many of these patients are children.
This year during Sickle Cell Awareness Month, Jamie and Jamita are teaming up with their national Greek organizations, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to raise awareness of the disease by hosting a joint blood drive of an unprecedented magnitude. Their goal is to receive 500 blood donations to ultimately save up to 1,500 lives. They want others to know that blood transfusions literally transform the lives of people living with sickle cell disease. These chronically transfused patients often require blood from donors of similar race to better match what they need. For this reason, blood donors of African-American descent are especially needed to meet the transfusion requirements of sickle cell patients.
“Sickle cell anemia is painful and unpredictable. To be able to donate the blood that could save a patient’s life and improve their quality of life is such a gift,” said Jamie, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity representative.
Jamie is personally familiar with the challenges of sickle cell disease; he has a friend that suffers from it. Jamita has a friend with sickle cell trait, increasing a parent’s potential for passing the genetic disease on to their children.
For sickle cell patients, blood transfusions also improve quality of life, while reducing pain and other debilitating symptoms. Thanks to today’s medical treatments and your blood donations, the life expectancy for today’s sickle cell patients has improved dramatically.
By giving blood and inviting others to do the same, your blood could be matched with a patient who has SCD and greatly enhance their life. Carter BloodCare receives transfusion orders for at least 20 to 30 of these patients weekly.
In support of the DFW Joint Sickle Cell Blood Drive, Carter BloodCare is sending a fleet of buses and a team of ambassadors to AT&T Stadium. Please join us on Saturday, September 9th with your friends and family. You can make an appointment to donate or stop by our buses to #GiveForLife and support sickle cell patients in our community.
“Your blood is something that is special to you,” said Jamie. “Your blood can save a life, and you’re ultimately helping someone who can’t really help themselves.”