Sickle cell disease (SCD) affects up to 100,000 Americans. You can help improve the lives of Chicago-area patients facing this disease.
What is Sickle Cell Disease?
It is one of the most commonly inherited blood disorders. In the United States, most people with SCD are African American. In fact, about one in every 365 African American children is born with SCD. There are also many people with the disease who come from Hispanic, southern European, Middle Eastern, or Asian Indian backgrounds.
The syndrome can cause excruciating pain, anemia, severe fatigue, respiratory distress, stroke and eventually even organ failure. Treatments for SCD include medications, blood transfusions, and rarely a bone-marrow transplant.
One Chicago-area mom who has been impacted by sickle cell disease is Shakara Gross. She and her 15-year-old son, Javon, who was born with SCD, spend about 100 days a year in the hospital. For the past three years, Javon has received monthly blood transfusions at UIC Medical Center to keep the disease in check.
A blood donor since her days while attending Fremd High School in Palatine, Shakara is active in raising awareness for SCD and encourages people to donate blood as often as possible.
“I see the immediate effect it has on Javon when he receives his transfusions and am thankful to those who selflessly roll up their sleeves to donate,” says Shakara, who is also the founder of Javon’s Gift, a soon-to-be 501(C)(3) non-profit, raising much needed dollars and awareness for SCD throughout Lake County.
“You never know when you’ll need the life-saving gift of blood that can come from area donors,” she adds. “It really is the easiest way to give someone a second chance at life.”
You Can Help
You can help patients like Javon by donating blood on a regular basis. With each blood donation, you can impact up to three lives!
Managing sickle cell disease can often require routine blood transfusions, so having a more ethnically diverse donor pool available for these patients may be their best hope. We encourage everyone to donate this month to help diversify the blood supply for all patients who receive routine transfusions.
Be The Giving Type and schedule your appointment today. Please call 877.543.3768, download the free LifeSource Blood Donor Mobile App by visiting the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or schedule your appointment online by clicking here and searching by zip code or group code.
Some patients with SCD can benefit from a bone marrow transplant. Learn more about joining the bone marrow registry.
PREPARE FOR YOUR DONATION • EAT WELL • STAY HYDRATED • BRING ID