Skip to the content

What is Sickle Cell Disease?

More than 100,000 Americans have sickle cell disease. People who inherit a sickle cell gene from one parent and a normal gene from the other are known to have a sickle cell trait. Having a sickle cell trait does not mean having sickle cell disease. They can live a normal life, but they may pass on the trait to their children where they can be born with sickle cell disease. The disease impacts the African American and Hispanic populations the most.  

Sickle cell disease causes red blood cells to harden and turn into a crescent shape like a “C”. The cells die quickly, causing a shortage of red blood cells in those with sickle cell disease, and they can also get stuck, slowing the flow of blood and causing pain, infection or even strokes.  


Why African Americans are important in donating blood?

Blood from an African American donor to an African American recipient is more likely to match. That’s why it’s so important that we have a diverse set of donors who match with a diverse set of patients in area hospitals. Think of it this way: your blood type depends on your parents’ blood types, so you’re more likely to be a match with relatives and people who have a similar ancestry to you. It is crucial for patients who receive multiple transfusions in their lifetime to receive blood that closely matches their own.  

How can you help?

Be a Sickle Cell Hero!

Schedule Your Donation

Find your nearest location