On behalf of the UCLA Blood & Platelet Center, I thank you for your past donation with our center. September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Over 100,000 Americans live with sickle cell disease (SCD). SCD is an inherited disease that disproportionately affects Black and Brown Americans, with an estimate in 1 in 365 Black Americans and 1 in 14,000 Hispanic Americans. The disease is named for sickle-shaped red blood cells, resulting in severe conditions such as organ damage, extreme pain, and serious infections. Unfortunately, many people with SCD have shortened life expectancy and recurring and debilitating health problems.
Blood transfusions are vital for SCD patients. Blood from healthy donors allows red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout the blood and unblock blood vessels. Because SCD primarily impacts Black and Brown communities, blood donations from a donor with a similar ethnicity or race may provide the best opportunity for a matched unit and prevent immune-related transfusion complications which frequently occur in SCD patients. Furthermore, individuals with SCD may need as many as 100 units of blood each year.
As we acknowledge National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, we also recognize blood donation is down due to the pandemic. Please consider donating blood at one of our centers or mobile sites. Your donation is vital for all of our UCLA patients requiring transfusion.
You may schedule your appointment online at uclahealth.org/gotblood/ or call (310)825-0888, select option 2.
Thank you again for donating with the Blood & Platelet Center and supporting UCLA patients. We hope to see you soon.
Dawn Ward MD
UCLA Blood & Platelet Center