Shortage of African-American and Hispanic blood prompts Cleveland blood drive

Blood helps those with sickle cell anemia

CLEVELAND - You may not hear a lot about it, but it is a growing health problem in the United States.

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disorder that affects more than 70,000 people in our country. Two million people and 10 percent of African-Americans have the sickle cell trait. It touches the lives of children and adults.

The African-American and Hispanic communities are affected the most by the disease, which can cause extreme pain. Other symptoms include anemia, acute chest syndrome and stroke. 

Early diagnosis is critical when it comes to treatment of sickle cell. One option is blood transfusions. Right now in the Cleveland area there is a shortage of African-American and Hispanic blood.

In order to increase the supply, the American Red Cross is holding a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Mt. Gillion Baptist Church, located at 7025 Cedar Ave. in Cleveland.

I will be there to donate my blood. If you have questions or need directions call 216-431-4130.

The need for African-Americans and Hispanics to donate blood is great. I recently interviewed Dr. Connie Piccone, Clinical Director of the Sickle Cell Anemia Center at UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital and Demeatrice Nance, whose daughter Makenzie has been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia.

Click on the video link to hear our conversation about the disease and how you can do your part to help.

Hope to see you on Saturday.

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