More than 10,000 of our neighbors in Augusta suffer from sickle cell anemia. Both Richmond County and the state of Georgia are at the top of the heap across the country for a relentless disease. The answer for now is a blood donation, preferably from families who are struggling with sickle cell, but all donations matter.
100 Black Men of Augusta is comprised of educators, counselors, and other business leaders throughout Augusta. The members of the organization mentor, provide leadership development, offer scholarships, and focus on the needs of health and wellness in the African-American community.
Now, the group has partnered with the American Red Cross of East Central Georgia locally and on a national level through 100 Black Men of America to host blood drives across the country to help save lives. The 100 Black Men of Augusta and the Red Cross will host a blood drive on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at the historic Sacred Heart Cultural Center in downtown Augusta GA.
“Less than 10% of the population gives blood, but sickle cell patients must have blood donations frequently from birth on up, in other words, throughout their lifetime,” explained Susan Everitt, the Executive Director of the East Central GA Red Cross Chapter.
The partnership with 100 Black Men of America and the Red Cross expands blood donation opportunities in Black communities and helps combat the health disparities that disproportionately affect Black and African Americans, like sickle cell, chronic illnesses, complications from childbirth, and trauma-related accidents.
Blood transfusions are essential in managing the very real pain and long-term health of those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race or similar ethnicity and blood type which are the most effective way to help patients experiencing a sickle cell crisis. Since the majority of people with sickle cell are of African descent, blood donations from Black individuals are critical in helping those suffering from this disease.
“It’s imperative for families of those with sickle cell anemia to give blood. It helps alleviate suffering, it only takes about an hour to donate blood, and through the Red Cross Sickle Cell Initiative, it gives donors a mini health evaluation by testing for the sickle cell trait which is the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S.”
New research published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that stem cell gene therapy may offer a promising, curative treatment for the painful, inherited blood disorder sickle cell disease (SCD). In the meantime, blood donations help save lives.
Donors can schedule a blood donation appointment for the upcoming 100 Black Men of Augusta blood drive at RedCrossBlood.org (use zip code 30901 or the date of October 10th to locate this drive), by downloading the Blood Donor App, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. To help tackle the need for blood in October, all donors who come to give with the Red Cross will receive a $20 Amazon e-gift card.
Mitzi Oxford is a veteran broadcaster and features writer who also worked at the same television station in Columbus, Georgia as Augusta’s Brad Means! If you have a South Carolina story idea for Mitzi, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.