Blood donor diversity is crucial for helping sickle cell patients

September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month

BEDFORD, TEXAS – Aug. 30, 2023 – During National Sickle Cell Awareness Month in September, Carter BloodCare urges all eligible donors to help ensure the blood supply reflects the diversity of the community.

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States, affecting approximately 100,000 Americans – of which approximately 7,000 are Texans – and 20 million people worldwide.

Healthy red blood cells are disc-shaped and flexible enough to circulate easily through the blood vessels. However, SCD-impacted red blood cells are crescent or sickle shaped; these cells do not bend or move easily, preventing them from properly moving through blood vessels and supplying oxygen to all parts of the body.

Health issues associated with sickle cell disease

Blockage of blood flow leads to health complications, including vision problems or blindness, severe and unpredictable pain, headaches, fatigue, anemia, frequent infections, lung tissue damage, kidney disease, swelling in the extremities, dizziness and strokes.

sickle cell disease patient

Blood transfusions are a key treatment to relieve sickle cell symptoms. Sickle Cell Awareness Month highlights the urgency of diversity among blood donors to best meet patient needs.

America’s Blood Centers – the national organization of community-based, independent blood centers – noted that frequently transfused patients, such as those with sickle cell disease, often require blood from donors of similar ethnic and racial backgrounds.

However, less than 20% of all blood donations currently come from diverse communities. Increasing that percentage is one of the best ways to support individuals with diseases like sickle cell, particularly as one in three Black blood donors are a viable match for an SCD patient.

Donors make a difference

Carter BloodCare is committed to increasing awareness of the positive effects of a blood supply that reflects the entire community.

To find a Carter BloodCare donation location, visit or call 800-366-2834.

Additional resources

Living with SCD: Kelly’s story

Living with SCD: Nina’s story

Video: Testing blood beyond groups A,B, and O, with Dr. William Crews with Carter BloodCare

Sickle Cell Disease Association of America

Sickle Cell Association of Texas

About Carter BloodCare

Carter BloodCare is an independent, community blood center providing transfusion resources to more than 200 medical facilities in 50-plus counties of North, Central and East Texas. The nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization is one of the largest blood programs in Texas, delivering more than 440,000 blood products annually to meet hospitals’ requirements for their patients. Services include collection, processing, specialized laboratory testing, storage and distribution of blood and blood products.

Tu centro de sangre comunitario.