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Red Cross encouraging donations from Black people to help others with sickle cell disease

sickle cell disease
(Photo credit: National Institutes of Health)
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a genetic blood disorder that alters red blood cells. The disease affects millions worldwide and about 80,000 patients in the United States, in particular, one in every 500 African American births. (Photo credit: National Institutes of Health)

The American Red Cross is encouraging blood donations this month to help people with sickle cell disease. The blood disease mainly afflicts African Americans and people of African descent.

A blood transfusion is the most common treatment for sickle cell. But potential donors can be reluctant, according Dr. Yvette Miller. She's executive medical officer for the American Red Cross.

"Because of the, you know, the different events in terms of scientific research Tuskegee experiment, there is some reluctance of African Americans to donate because of some of those historical things that have occurred," she explained.

To fight the stigma, the Red Cross has launched a new campaign called Joined By Blood, to encourage donations from Black people. It will also be holding special blood drives around the state through the end of the month as part of Sickle Cell Awareness Month.