News & Announcements

Ron Dane and Mary Rouse

Donors needed for Sickle Cell Awareness Blood Drive Sept. 12

Posted Sep 09, 2014


Every three weeks, 10-year-old Isaiah heads to the American Family Children’s Hospital on UW-Madison’s campus to receive a blood transfusion.

Every three weeks, Isaiah spends two days—or one long day—at the Hospital where doctors work to find a donor match for his blood. After the two-to-three hour transfusion, Isaiah waits at the hospital for another hour to make sure his body does not reject the new blood.

Isaiah is one of about 70,000 Americans living with Sickle Cell Anemia, a disease that affects red blood cells. The disease is mainly prevalent among those of African descent, Isaiah among them.

On Friday, Sept. 12, the Morgridge Center for Public Service is hosting a Sickle Cell Awareness Blood Drive from 12-5 p.m. at Memorial Union. The drive, sponsored by the American Red Cross and the Urban League of Greater Madison, aims to both collect blood donations while also raising awareness for Sickle Cell Disease.

Blood transfusions are critical for patients with Sickle Cell Disease. Normal bodies produce red blood cells that live for around 120 days. Sickle Cell patients’ red blood cells die after just 10-20 days.

Blood transfusions therefore become a lifeline. Isaiah suffered a stroke at the age of just three. Without transfusions, Isaiah would likely suffer more strokes.

All are welcome to donate at the Sickle Cell Awareness Blood Drive. African American students, staff and community members are especially encouraged to donate. It is important that blood donors reflect the ethnic diversity of the patients who receive their blood. Patients with Sickle Cell Disease – which primarily affects those in the African-American community—are less likely to have complications from blood donated by African Americans.

Donating blood is simple. But your donation will make a profound impact on people in your community like young Isaiah.

Call 1-8000-RED CROSS to make a donation appointment or go online to redcrossblood.org and use the sponsor code “Madison Sickle Cell” to sign up.