The Elwyn Black Professionals ERG

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The Black Professionals Employee Resource Group at Elwyn is celebrating MLK day by host a virtual and in-person blood drive from Monday, January 16th to Friday, February 10th.The in person blood drive will take place on Tuesday, February 7th at the Zier gym on the Media campus from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

While all blood is critical to aid in lifesaving measures, we have chosen to focus this year’s blood drive on sickle cell awareness. Sickle cell disease is a genetic condition that affects the body’s red blood cells. It occurs when a child receives two sickle cell genes—one from each parent. In someone living with this disease, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle”.

When sickled red blood cells travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems such as infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke. The pain experienced by people living with sickle cell disease can vary in intensity and last for a few hours to a few weeks.

While the disease is most common among African Americans, other racial and ethnic groups are affected, including Latinos and people of Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian, and Mediterranean backgrounds. Sub-Saharan Africa has the greatest burden of disease, with more than 300,000 babies born with the disease each year. However, the disease is common enough in the United States that there are about 100,000 people currently living with sickle cell disease but uncommon enough that medical professionals rarely see sickle cell disease patients.