ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The American Red Cross said about 100,000 people are living with sickle cell in the U.S. and most of them are African-African.
Now, an organization is asking African-Americans to donate blood to help battle the disease.
“Unfortunately, since mid-March, we have seen a number of African-American blood donors drop by more than half. Understandably, we believe that this number has increased in large blood cancellations at businesses, churches and schools,” said Red Cross Spokesperson Ronnika McFall.
McFall said sickle cell patients are at a higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19 and must be matched very closely to reduce the risk.
“Without a regularly available blood supply, sickle cell patients can experience severe pain, tissue and organ damage, acute anemia and even strokes,” explained McFall.
McFall said that blood donations can save lives.
"Without a readily available blood supply, at times, elective surgeries may have to be postponed, blood is needed for so many reasons, not just sickle cell but for trauma patients, car accidents, cancer patients,” said McFall.
McFall said COVID-19 has not stopped that constant need.
"Our patients are not on a break right now, our patients are not on a quarantine,” said McFall.
McFall said there is a way to track your donation by downloading the Red Cross donor app.
"You are able to see the lives you’re saving and the difference you are making. So, like I said before, the need for blood is constant and it is very important that we maintain a steady blood supply throughout this entire pandemic,” said McFall.