The Morgridge Center for Public Service, American Red Cross, and Urban League of Greater Madison have teamed up to host special blood drives aimed at raising awareness about Sickle Cell Disease.
It is important that blood donors reflect the ethnic diversity of the patients who receive their blood. Patients with Sickle Cell Disease – primarily those in the African-American community – are less likely to have complications from blood donated by African Americans.
Sickle Cell Blood Drives have existed in Madison for over five years, but the effort was recently reignited when the Wisconsin Black Student Union (WBSU) committed to being the campus leader in the cause. For more information about this transition click here.
Isaiah’s first symptoms appeared when he was six months old and at the age of three, Isaiah had a stroke, which is fairly common in sickle cell patients. To reduce the risk of a second stroke, he was placed on a blood transfusion program that requires him to get transfusions every three weeks.
The transfusion process usually takes place over two days, or one long day, in the Pediatric Special Procedures Clinic at the American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wis. On the first day, Isaiah has his blood typed to match with donor blood. On the second day, he receives his transfusion which takes two to three hours, with an hour of observation after. Each time, Isaiah has his vitals checked before, during, and after the transfusion to make sure he’s not having an allergic reaction to the blood he receives.
“Isaiah has type O positive blood, but usually receives O negative blood because there isn’t any O positive blood available that is a good match for Isaiah,” says his mother Latyna. “His body is starting to build up antibodies, making it harder to find a good match for his transfusions.”
Blood donations save lives and allow Sickle Cell patients like Isaiah to continue living as healthy of a life as possible.
Sickle Cell Awareness Blood Drive honorary co-chairs include former Badger Football running back and Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne as well as Latyna Darden and her 13-year-old son, Isaiah.