American Red Cross hosts sickle cell blood donation drive in Hampton


HAMPTON, Va (WAVY) – A blood drive in Hampton Monday provided several opportunities to help the community.

With help from the Virginia Department of Health and Celebrate Healthcare, flu shots, COVID antibody tests, and blood donations were made for the sickle cell disease community.

Sickle Cell is an inherited disease in which there aren’t enough healthy blood cells to carry oxygen to your organs.

98 percent of sickle cell patients are African Americans.

The disease is not contagious and can be treated by blood transfusions.

“Due to COVID-19, we’ve had a tremendous shortage of African American donors and of the course the patients, they still need to have the transfusions. They still need the blood products to help eliminate the pain and suffering,” said Eric Majette with the Red Cross.

Majette said typically, the best blood type match comes from people within your same ethnic or race group.

“During this time, people are afraid to donate blood during Covid and sickle cell patients need transfusions, they need the blood, “said Gaylene Konoyton with Celebrate Healthcare.

James Day has the trait for the disease but does not suffer, so he decided to help in any way he can.

“I know that I can affect others that actually have the disease itself that trait. Although it doesn’t affect me as much, knowing that I can help out may allow me to tie myself to what I can do,” said Day.

The drive also had opportunities to get a free flu shot and COVID antibody test.

“It tests for COVID. It also tests to see if your body came in contact with COVID and your antibody fought the disease off and just didn’t know it. So there are multiple things that the test will give you,” said Eric.

He said he understands the fear of COVID because that as well has impacted the African American community greatly, but hopes with all the different resources they offer, more people from the African American community will step up to help.

They hope by spreading the word to the African American community, they will step up and help donate, while also getting a COVID antibody test.

To find a Red Cross donation center near you click here.

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