New York Blood Center (NYBC) is offering free sickle cell trait testing for the entire month of September at select blood drives in honor of National Sickle Cell Awareness Month.
Donors of diverse backgrounds may also be screened for special antigen markers to find a better match for patients in need, as sickle cell patients often require blood from donors with similar antigens during treatment. NYBC expects that nearly 3,000 donations will be tested for the sickle cell trait as a part of this initiative.
Sickle cell disease, an inherited red cell disorder that is most common among African Americans, impacts about 10,000 New Yorkers. Sickle cell disease patients rely on blood transfusions to stay healthy, often needing them every few weeks and requiring very closely matched blood products because their bodies make antibodies directed towards transfused red blood cells.