CARTERSVILLE, Ga. (Sept. 14, 2021) – For the first time in its nearly 50-year history, Blood Assurance will offer blood donors the opportunity to find out if they carry Sickle Cell Trait.
The free and voluntary program, which takes place during National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, will be available to blood donors until Sept. 30 at all mobile blood drives and fixed locations during Blood Assurance’s third Commit to Give event.
“I am excited and proud that Blood Assurance has taken this initiative,” said Dr. Ted Kieffer, Blood Assurance’s medical director. “Unlike patients with Sickle Cell Disease, when someone carries the trait, they may be unaware and are at risk of having a child with the disease. Someone knowing whether they carry the trait will help that person understand the risk when planning for a family.”
The process starts with a blood donation. From that donation, Blood Assurance will take a sample of the blood and perform a sickle cell screening test that will identify if the donor has the trait. If the result comes back positive, Blood Assurance will contact the individual by mail in about a month. Blood Assurance hopes to spread awareness of the disease and to encourage blood donation. They are hoping to see 6,500 donations during this event which runs now through Sept. 30.
Sickle Cell Disease affects over 100,000 Americans and over 100 million people world-wide have Sickle Cell Trait. The disease predominately affects African-Americans in the United States. The average Sickle Cell patient needs a blood transfusion 2.5 times per year to combat the effects of the disease.
For more information on Sickle Cell Disease, donors can visit bloodassurance.org/sickle-cell. To schedule an appointment to give blood, donors can visit bloodassurance.org/schedule, call 800-962-0628, or text BAGIVE to 999777.
To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with parental consent), weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health. Donors are asked to drink plenty of fluids — avoiding caffeine — and eat a meal that is rich in iron prior to donating.
For additional information on the Breaking the Sickle Cell Cycle Foundation, visit btsscycle.org
About Blood Assurance
Blood Assurance is a nonprofit, full-service regional blood center serving more than 70 health care facilities in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky and North Carolina. Founded in 1972 as a joint effort of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society, the Chattanooga Area Hospital Council and the Chattanooga Jaycees, the mission of Blood Assurance is to provide a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood components to every area patient in need.