When the Stars Align, It Is A Beautiful Thing For Those With Sickle Cell Disease

Story by Mia Niccol / Red Cross Cascades

When we look up at a crescent moon, we admire its beauty as it is a beautiful sight.

However, crescent shapes are not exactly the sight we want to see when looking at blood.

Sickle cell disease is a condition typically characterized by red blood cells in a hardened crescent shape which makes them unable to store as much oxygen to carry to other parts of the body.

In addition, because of their shape, these cells can get stuck in small areas such as arteries and veins and can cause complications.

For people with sickle cell disease, it is essential for them to receive blood transfusions as it helps them feel energized and less pain.

Because of this, blood donations are even more important for those with sickle cell disease, but not any kind of blood transfusion will do. 

According to the American Red Cross, about 100,000 people in the Unites States have sickle cell disease and most of these people are of African descent.

This makes the urgency of blood donations from diverse donors of the utmost importance.

“For many patients, a close blood type match is essential and is found in donors of the same race or similar ethnicity.” (American Red Cross)

There are certain genetic markers in place that allow the blood donor to be a match for a recipient who has sickle cell anemia.

These characteristics come down to the different blood types such as A, B, AB, and O where they are in the form of antigens or receptors that are on the surface of the blood, as well as Rh factors which indicate the positive or negative factor in the blood. 

When these factors are all aligned like the stars in the sky, they can do big things for those who have sickle cell disease, allowing them to live a healthy more comfortable life.

Blood is a constant need and it is only available due to the generous donors who donate blood.  Schedule your appointment online to give blood at a blood drive near you by visiting https://www.redcrossblood.org/