Every day the American Red Cross must hold 500 blood drives in order to meet the needs of patients at over 2,500 hospitals and cancer treatment centers across the country. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion! One particular area of need is in combatting sickle cell disease (SCD). SCD is the most common genetic blood disease in the United States. It causes red blood cells to change shape and form a sickle (crescent) shape. The cells become stiff and sticky, causing them to block blood flow and oxygen transfer to organs. This can cause chronic pain, kidney damage, anemia, stroke and even death.
About 100,000 people in the United States are living with SCD, and people of African descent make up 90% of that population. Blood transfusion is the main treatment for people with SCD and one patient may use between 36 and 120 units of blood each year. To meet the transfusion needs of the general population, the donor pool must reflect the diversity of the recipient population. Generally, the most compatible blood match for a patient requiring frequent transfusions comes from donors of the same race or similar ethnicity.
During Black History Month, our Black Employee Global Network has set up a companywide virtual blood drive that will run from February 14 – March 13. We are asking individuals to schedule an appointment to donate blood through our SleevesUp campaign link here.
This online link will allow you to find a convenient location to set up an appointment to donate.
The Red Cross is currently experiencing a blood crisis. At times there has been less than a 1-day supply of blood due to a decline in donations. With even one blood donation, you can make an important difference in your community. It may be for a child living with sickle cell disease, a mom experiencing a complicated childbirth, a friend fighting cancer, or an accident victim being raced to an emergency room.
Please consider participating in the SleevesUp campaign. We are grateful for your efforts and thank you in advance for your support of the Red Cross and this virtual blood drive.
Steve Scherger, EVP & CFO
Executive Sponsor of BEGN