Red Cross Sounds Alarm on Critical Blood Shortage; Launches ‘Joined by Blood’ Campaign Amid Sickle Cell Awareness Month


FILE - This 2009 colorized microscope image made available by the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a sickle cell, left, and normal red blood cells of a patient with sickle cell anemia. A study of U.S. children with sickle cell disease found fewer than half get a needed screening for stroke, a common complication. And only about half or fewer get a treatment that can help with pain and anemia, the study found. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the study Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, and called for more screening and treatment. (Janice Haney Carr/CDC/Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia via AP, File)
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The American Red Cross issued an urgent call for action this week, warning of a critical shortage in the national blood supply that poses a significant threat to the healthcare of patients across the country, particularly those in the Black community who rely on life-saving blood transfusions to manage sickle cell disease. 

With the blood supply dwindling by nearly 25 percent since early August and a series of natural disasters in recent months, the situation has become increasingly dire, according to a press release from the organization.

The Red Cross reports a surge in blood drive cancelations and a substantial decrease in blood and platelet donations in regions affected by recent catastrophes. August witnessed a big decline in donor turnout – a staggering 30,000-donation deficit for the month.

September is also designated as Sickle Cell Awareness Month, drawing attention to the importance of raising awareness about the more than 100,000 people in the United States grappling with the disease. The majority are of African descent and depend on regular blood transfusions to manage their condition.

The Red Cross is now launching a campaign titled “Joined by Blood” throughout September and October. The initiative involves collaborations with prominent organizations within the Black community, including 100 Black Men of America and Kier’s Hope Foundation. 

One in three African-American blood donors is a compatible match for individuals with sickle cell disease. For more information on how to donate blood or get involved in the “Joined by Blood” campaign, head to the American Red Cross website.

Click play to listen to the AURN News report from Jamie Jackson:

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