Blue Tag Sickle Cell Blood Drive Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) affects approximately 80,000 African Americans nationwide. It can cause terrible pain, known as “crisis”, as well as organ and tissue damage, stroke, and anemia. Treatment for crisis, stroke and other complications may involve blood transfusion(s) for both children and adults. Because of the need for life sustaining transfusions, blood donations are always needed. Blood, like many other genetic factors, is best matched among people of the same ethnicity.
The best match for Sickle Cell patients will most likely come from an African American Donor. In recent years, some American Red Cross chapters in partnership with interested sickle cell organizations launched the “Blue Tag Program.” The Program is a way to increase the diversity of the community blood supply and educate African-American’s about how their blood donation can help specific patients. African-Americans represent 12 to 14% of the U.S. population, but only 1% of the African-American community donates blood. African Americans have been historically underrepresented in the blood donor population. This makes it more challenging for the Red Cross to find the unique donor matches needed to treat Sickle Cell patients (800-RED-CROSS).
Blood donors that identify as African-American or Black, can have a “Blue Tag” attached to their blood collection bag. This shows that a donated unit might be a good match for a patient with SCD. If a patient with SCD does not need the blood within 21 days, or there is no match, the donated blood will be made available for any patient in need. Increasing the available supply of closely matched blood for SCD patients is essential. Join us in this worthy cause and host a Blue Tag Blood Donoe Drive. Donna Monroe, MS