Illinois State University will be hosting a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 5 in the Bowling and Billiards Center.
Red Cross will be holding blood drives all across Illinois at the beginning of September to encourage eligible donors to give blood in honor of National Sickle Cell Awareness Month.
Sickle cell disease is a hereditary disease that causes red blood cells to mutate and become disc-shaped. This can cause complications such as blocked blood vessels, anemia and acute or chronic pain.
“The Red Cross is asking eligible donors to give blood to help ensure a sufficient and diverse blood supply,” Ben Corey, external communications manager of the Red Cross, said.
Corey said a diverse blood supply is especially important for patients with sickle cell disease because blood from donors of the same ethnic background as the recipient is less likely to cause complications, and the only way to manage the disease is regular blood transfusions.
Since the majority of the 100,000 people in the U.S. living with sickle cell disease are African-American, blood donors of African-American descent are especially vital because they are more capable of providing blood that is a closer match for patients.
It is not difficult to qualify to be a blood donor.
“Individuals who are 17 years of age or 16 with parental consent, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate,” Corey said.
Donors who gave blood over the summer may be able to donate at the September blood drive. Donations can be made every 56 days.
All blood types are needed right now, especially A negative, B negative and O negative.
Corey stressed the importance of blood donors.
“Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a lifesaving blood transfusion. The Red Cross needs to collect 15,000 pints of blood every day for patients at about 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country,” Corey said.
One blood donation can save up to three lives.
To find a full list of local blood drives or make an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).