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Sharon Halloren

FAQ

Versiti offers a variety of events from blood drives to seminars

Blood Donation

Frequently asked questions about Blood Donation.

Coronavirus Disease FAQs

Beacon Club FAQs

COVID-19 Antibody Test FAQs

  • How long will Versiti be providing COVID-19 antibody testing?

    As of March 26, 2021 Versiti will stop testing for the COVID-19 Antibody on blood donations.  

  • If I test positive for the antibodies does it mean I am immune to COVID-19?

    No. A positive result indicates you may have had previous exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 and your body has developed antibodies to the virus. According to both the FDA and the CDC, it is not yet known whether the antibodies will protect someone from a future infection. False positive results are also possible. See: “What does a positive result mean?”

  • I've been vaccinated but my test is negative. Was my COVID-19 vaccine ineffective?

    A negative COVID antibody test result does not mean the COVID-19 vaccine has been ineffective. The Roche test detects antibody to the virus nucleocapsid, different than the spike antibody stimulated by the vaccine. The Roche test is not used to determine whether the COVID-19 vaccine has stimulated an appropriate response.

  • Should I be concerned if I have COVID-19 antibodies?

    Antibodies against COVID-19 are not harmful to you and they are not harmful to a patient. In fact, if you have antibodies against COVID-19 you may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma. Convalescent plasma is a special type of donation used specifically to treat ill patients fighting COVID-19.

  • What does a NEGATIVE result mean?

    A negative result most likely means you have not been exposed to COVID-19. It is also possible you have been exposed but have not developed an immune response, or if you have made antibodies, they are present at a low level below the threshold of detection for the test. It is also possible the test did not recognize antibodies you made. See the Roche and Ortho Fact Sheets.

  • What does a POSITIVE result mean?

    A reactive (positive) result means antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 were found in your blood.  It is likely you previously had COVID-19 and developed an antibody response to the virus. This antibody is not harmful to you and it is not harmful if transfused to a patient. At this time there are not enough data, or studies, to determine whether a positive antibody result implies you will be protected from reinfection with COVID-19 or how long any protection might last. It is also possible that your reactive result may be a false positive due to cross-reactivity from antibodies to another prior infectious agent or other causes.

    We perform a second antibody test on a different platform before reporting your result to reduce the chance of a false positive. 

    It is very important you continue to follow the recommendations of public health authorities and any workplace or community guidelines to protect yourself and others from the virus. See the Roche and Ortho Fact Sheets. 

  • What does it mean if my result is LETTER?

    You will receive a letter by mail explaining your results in detail.

  • What does it mean if my result is UNAVAILABLE?

    Technical issues prevented your donation from being tested. You will not receive a test result for this donation. We apologize for the inconvenience. You will be tested on your next eligible donation.

  • What is the difference between a diagnostic test and an antibody screening test?

    A diagnostic test is used to determine if you are currently infected with the virus. If you are feeling ill or have had recent close contact less than 14 days ago with someone confirmed with COVID-19, a diagnostic test may be recommended by your healthcare provider or public health authorities. Versiti is not performing a diagnostic test for COVID-19.

    An antibody screening test is used to determine if someone has been exposed to a virus in the past and has developed an immune response. Antibodies are formed when fighting infections like COVID-19. In the case of COVID-19, people with antibodies can make a special blood donation called convalescent plasma that can be used to help treat patients fighting the virus. 

Eligibility

  • Are 16-year-olds allowed to donate blood?

    Nearly 30 states (including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) permit 16-year-olds to donate blood with consent from a parent/guardian. These donors must be in good health and meet the minimum criteria to donate. Please refer to the height and weight chart to verify donor eligibility. By becoming a blood donor, your son or daughter shows great civic responsibility, maturity and community pride.

  • Can I donate if I take medications?

    Most medications will not defer you from donating blood. Before you make an appointment, however, check our medication deferral list.

    If you are currently taking antibiotics for an infection, you will be eligible to donate two days after your course of treatment is complete.

  • Can I donate if I've received the COVID-19 vaccination?

    BLOOD: Individuals must wait two days after the day of vaccination to donate blood or platelets.

    CCP:  Individuals who have received the COVID-19 vaccine may not donate CCP

  • Do other states allow 16-year-olds to donate blood?

    Nearly 30 states (including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio) have permitted blood donations from 16-year-old donors and many have been accepting those donors for years.

  • How can donors prepare for their blood donation?

    Get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy meal and stay hydrated before, during and after your appointment.

  • How often can I donate?

    Time restrictions between blood donations are placed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for your safety. You can donate the following:

    • Whole blood: every 56 days (8 weeks)
    • Red cells: every 112 days (16 weeks)
    • Platelets: every 14 days (2 weeks)
    • Plasma: every 28 days (4 weeks)
  • How often can one give whole blood?

    You can donate whole blood every 56 days or eight weeks, up to six times per year.

  • I’m part of the LGBTQ+ community. Can I donate blood?

    There are specific requirements for gay and bisexual men, but people of all genders and sexual orientations may be able to donate if FDA eligibility criteria are met. Learn more about guidelines for LGBTQ+ donations.

  • What about my health history?

    There are a few additional conditions that may prevent you from donating, including:

    • Receiving any blood transfusions in the last three months.
    • A history of hepatitis B or C
    • High risk for HIV/AIDS
    • If you've ever taken Tegison
    • If you used needles to take anything not prescribed by your physician in the past 3 months.
  • Can I donate if I've traveled to foreign countries?

    The short answer is yes. There are some exceptions that may defer you from donating, including: 

    • If you spent a total of five years in France and Ireland for 5 years from 1980-2001 (risk of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease). 
    • If you spent 3 months or more in the UK from 1980-1996.
    • If you have traveled to an area affected by malaria in the past year, we ask that you wait three months from the time you returned home before donating blood. 
    • If you have ever had malaria, you must be symptom-free for three years. 
  • What form of identification (ID) is needed to donate?

    The following forms of ID with a birth date and photo will be accepted:

    • Driver’s license
    • State-issued ID card
    • Student identification card
    • Passport, visa or green card
  • Where can I obtain a parental consent form?

    Parental consent forms for 16-year-old donors in Indiana and Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin are available from staff at all blood drives and donor centers. High school blood drives will receive copies of consent forms from a Versiti donor recruiter prior to the scheduled drive.

  • Who may donate blood?

    Individuals aged 17 and older who are in good health and not experiencing symptoms of cold or flu may donate blood. Donors who are 16 years old may donate but must have parent/guardian permission. There is no maximum age for donation.

    Donors must weigh at least 110 lbs to donate.* Donors aged 16-18 have special height and weight requirements, view the chart for more information.

    *Donors in Michigan must weigh at least 112 pounds.

  • Can I donate if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Pregnant women are not eligible to donate blood - your body needs all the nutrients it can get! We recommend speaking with your doctor at your 6-week postpartum appointment to verify whether or not it is OK for you to start donating blood again.

    Women who are breastfeeding are eligible to donate. Most nursing mothers say that eating a healthy meal before donating and staying hydrated before, during and after helps ensure a successful donation.

  • I have tattoos and/or piercings. Can I donate?

    As long as your tattoo or piercing has healed and was done in a state-licensed facility, you are able to donate blood. If it was not done at a state-licensed facility or has not healed, a three-month waiting period is required before you are eligible to donate blood.

  • Why does Versiti require parental consent forms for 16-year-olds but not 17-year-olds?

    According to state statutes, parental consent is required for 16-year-olds, but not 17-year-olds. Some schools require parental consent forms for 17-year-old donors, but Versiti is not required by law to collect parental consent from 17-year-olds. 

  • Why should I give blood?

    This is a volunteer opportunity like no other. Versiti is the only provider of blood to the community hospitals where you live and work. Medical technology has provided many life-saving discoveries over the years, but there is still no substitute for blood. In a medical emergency, often the most important element is the availability of blood.

    Your blood donation can help:

    • Trauma victims
    • Surgery patients
    • Premature babies
    • People with anemia

Donation Process

  • Do I need to bring any forms of ID to my appointment?

    Yes. The following forms of identification with a photo and birth date are acceptable:

    • Driver’s license
    • State-issued ID
    • Student ID card
    • Passport, visa or green card
  • How long does it take to give blood?

    The process for donating whole blood takes about an hour from the time you walk in the door to the time you leave. This includes registration, a brief medical screening, blood collection and refreshments. 

    Collecting one unit of whole blood only takes about 10 minutes; however, you can expect to spend more time donating products like red cells, platelets and plasma (also known as apheresis procedures).

  • How long until a patient uses my blood?

    All donated blood products undergo a series of tests to ensure they are safe for patients to receive and are typically available for use 24-48 hours following donation. Whole blood is separated into components (red cells, platelets and plasma) and after processing, the red cells can be stored for 42 days. Plasma can be frozen and stored for up to 12 months. Platelets expire after 5 days.

  • I’m afraid of needles. Does donating blood hurt?  

    Donating blood does not hurt, though you might feel a pinch when the needle first goes into your arm. In that moment, think about the patients you're helping who rely on the generosity of people like you to feel healthy. You may experience discomfort for a few seconds, but you'll have the lasting reward of knowing you saved a life. 

Plasma Donation FAQs

  • Does it hurt?

    Minimally, if at all. Plasma donation feels similar to a regular blood donation.

  • Does Versiti pay donors for plasma donations?

    No. FDA regulations prohibit paying blood donors since the blood collected directly benefits patients in hospitals through transfusions. Plasma centers that compensate their contributors can do so because every contributor’s plasma is pooled and manufactured into medications and distributed globally. In contrast, blood donations at Versiti impact your local community.

  • How do I prep for my donation?
    • Get rest
    • Drink fluids
    • Eat a healthy meal
    • Download the app to speed up your questionnaire and to easily schedule your next appointment
    • Download a podcast, audio book or movie to enjoy during your donation
  • How long does the donation process take?

    The actual process only takes about 20-25 minutes, but you can expect to spend about an hour and a half with us. That means you can…

    • Catch up on your TV shows
    • Read a book
    • Sit back and relax
  • How often can I donate plasma?

    You can donate plasma every 4 weeks. All blood types can donate plasma, but AB types are the universal plasma donors. Only 3% of the U.S. population have it.

  • What is plasma?

    Plasma is a liquid part of blood that carries proteins, hormones and other nutrients throughout the body. It is the biggest blood component, making up 55% of your total blood volume. A healthy supply of plasma in the body:

    • Protects from infection
    • Helps maintain a healthy blood pressure
    • Promotes clotting when you get a cut
  • What to do after your donation?
    • Feel good about giving back? Tell the world and encourage others on social. Spread the word on social with #SaveLivesDonatePlasma and tag @versiti
    • Relax and enjoy a yummy snack
    • Schedule your next donation
    • Drink lots of fluids and avoid alcohol
    • You’ve earned a break - avoid vigorous exercise for the rest of the day
  • What’s the process for donating plasma?
    • Check-in: Bring verification of your identity — a driver’s license, donor ID card or government-issued ID card
    • Health questionnaire and initial screening
    • Get settled in your comfy donation chair
    • The phlebotomist will give you a quick stick
    • A process called apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis) uses a slow, steady and sophisticated machine to take the plasma out of your blood and give you back the other components through the same arm
    • Before you know it, your donation is over
    • You will get snacks and a drink for post-donation pick-me-up
  • Who does my plasma donation help?

    Nearly 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily in the U.S. – and nearly 4 million a year. Your plasma donations go to:

    • Transplant recipients
    • Burn and Trauma patients
    • Cancer warriors
    • Patients with hemophilia and other bleeding disorders

Platelet Donation

  • Am I eligible to donate platelets?

    As long as you are 17-years-old and meet the minimum requirements for donating whole blood you may be able to donate platelets. Visit the whole blood donation eligibility requirements to learn more.

  • How long does it take to donate platelets?

    We reserve 2-hour appointments to ensure enough time for the entire process and you are encouraged to bring a book, watch a movie, or just sit back and relax. Remember: your donation will benefit a local patient within the week!

  • How often can you donate platelets?

    Platelets can be donated up to 24 times a year, and we usually ask donors to wait two weeks between appointments. The small percentage of platelets that you donate will be quickly replenished by your body.

  • How to prepare for platelet donation

    Just like donating blood, platelet donors will want to get a good night’s sleep on the night leading up to their donation. Unlike donating whole blood, you are required to avoid aspirin for 48 hours before donation, as it will affect the clotting properties of your platelets. We also recommend that donors drink fluids and have a full meal prior to your donation.

  • What are platelets used for and who can they help?

    Platelets are a component of blood that promotes clotting. They are named after their plate-like shape, and when activated, platelets develop sticky spikes that help them cluster together to seal off cuts and other wounds. Platelets are body’s natural bandages!

  • What is apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis)?

    The easiest way to define apheresis is taking one part of your blood and giving you back the rest. This is the process of giving platelets: blood is collected using a sophisticated machine where platelets are separated from the rest of your blood and the remaining components (such as plasma or red cells) are safely returned to you through the same arm.

  • What is platelet donation?

    Platelet donations are a special type of blood donation. Our blood is made up of different parts, also called components: red cells, plasma, and platelets. Of the three, platelets are considered a precious resource – not only do they make up a small fraction of our blood, but platelets only last for five days outside of the body. That means when a donor gets up after their donation, the platelets they leave behind will be used by a patient in a local hospital within the week.

  • Who can donate platelets?

    Donors of all blood types are encouraged to donate! Donors give platelets through a process called apheresis, which we explain in another section below.

    Anyone who has ever been pregnant is encouraged to offer up their arm for a regular blood donation (called a ‘whole blood’ donation) and let staff know they’re interested in donating platelets. A small sample of blood will be taken for testing to see if they’re eligible. The reasoning behind this is that certain antibodies can develop during pregnancy that are harmful if transfused into certain patients. Unfortunately, these antibodies are present forever, so if a donor tests positive for them they will be unable to donate platelets. That being said, those donors are still eligible to donate other components!

Post Donation

  • How long will it take my body to replace the donated blood?

    Your body will replace the fluid portion of your blood within 24 hours. It will take a few weeks to replace the red blood cells.   

  • How long will it take to replenish my iron?

    Approximately six months or more with a healthy diet, or one to two months with an iron supplement.

    Replace iron loss by taking an oral iron supplement daily for 60 days immediately following your blood donation. We recommend taking an over-the-counter supplement or multivitamin containing 18mg of elemental iron per day. 

  • How will I feel after I donate?

    Most people feel fine after donating blood (having a snack helps - seriously!). Your body constantly makes new blood and the fluid you give will be replaced within hours. Eating a full meal before you donate will help you feel strong afterword. Drinking water and juice before and after donating also helps your body replenish lost fluids.

     Avoid strenuous activity for 12 hours after donating. If you are donating at a blood drive at your place of employment and have a hazardous or strenuous job, we recommend donating at the end of your shift.  

Hosting a Blood Drive

  • Do I need to have the drive at my organization’s offices? We don’t have the space.

    Generally, as a blood drive coordinator, it is up to you to find an appropriate location for your blood drive. However, our teams in Wisconsin and Illinois also have the ability to host a drive on a bus, which just needs ample parking space outside of your building.

  • How far in advance should I schedule a blood drive?

    Ideally, planning 8 to 12 weeks before the actual date works best. This gives you time to organize and recruit, helping to ensure a successful drive. Smaller windows of time can be accommodated. Again, this is something you can discuss with our staff.

  • How many donors do I need to have a blood drive?

    A minimum of 20 donors is needed to host a blood drive. Our largest drives host over 200 donors. Most smaller drives are held over a 4-hour period; larger drives can stretch over a longer time.

  • How much time should donors set aside to donate blood?

    It takes about 60 minutes from registration to refreshments in the café. The actual blood donation time is approximately 10 minutes.

  • What are the steps in hosting a blood drive?

    Our blood drive planning timeline checklist offers a checklist of what you should do and when, but here’s an overview to ensure that your blood drive will go as smoothly as possible:

    1. First, contact Versiti in your preferred region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) or complete a blood drive interest form and discuss possible dates and the size of your group. If you plan to host the drive at your facility, our staff will stop by to look at the room you have selected to ensure there is adequate space, lighting, outlets, etc.
    2. Then, we recommend forming a committee to divide duties such as logistics, recruiting and decorating. Versiti staff will provide drive materials and will remain in contact with you to answer any questions.
    3. On the day of the drive, Versiti's mobile crew will arrive before the start of your drive to set up all equipment. After your drive has ended, our crew will break down all equipment and transport it away.
  • What’s the most important thing in ensuring a successful drive?

    Getting donors committed to giving is absolutely critical. Studies have shown that the main reason people haven’t donated blood is that no one asked them. Forming a committee and personally asking people — even signing them up for donation times — is the best way to ensure that you’ll achieve your goal. If there is someone from the organization with a personal story about needing blood, ask if they are willing to share their story. Real stories can create a personal connection and provide further motivation for blood donation.

  • Why should my organization host a blood drive?

    Hosting a blood drive has several direct benefits:

    • Your donations are of crucial importance for local hospitals. Everyone in your group – from organizers to donors – can feel good about helping patients who depend on receiving that blood.
    • Hosting a blood drive can be a very visible extension of your organization’s values because it shows that you are working together for the good of the community.
    • Individuals who work together to plan the drive can benefit from the leadership experience it provides.
    • Some organizations find that hosting a blood drive brings their entire group together because there is an opportunity to rally around a very real and important community cause.

Babesia Testing

  • Why does Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin test my donation for Babesia?

    If you spend time outdoors or up north during Wisconsin summers, then you probably know about deer ticks. Their bites can be a nuisance for people and pets, and some deer ticks carry Lyme disease and Babesia.

    Babesia infects red blood cells and causes Babesiosis, which can be a severe, life-threatening disease in infants, elderly, people with weak immune systems and other serious health conditions. While many people who carry Babesia feel fine and show no effects, others can develop flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, nausea and fatigue.

    Wisconsin is a prime spot for deer ticks, along with Minnesota and the northeast part of the United States. Babesia is the most commonly documented cause of transfusion-transmitted infection. Summer, and in particularly July, is when most cases of Babesia are reported.

Blood Safety

  • How long is blood good for?

    Whole blood can be stored for 42 days before it expires and must be destroyed. Plasma can be frozen for up to 12 months. Platelets must be transfused within 5 days of being donated.  

  • Is it safe to donate blood?

    Yes, donating blood is completely safe. You cannot contract any diseases from donating blood. A sterile kit is used once to collect your blood and is then thrown away. Versiti is committed to the safety of our donors.

  • Is it safe to receive blood?

    Yes. The blood supply is the safest it’s ever been, especially since the implementation of nucleic acid amplification testing (NAT). NAT is a more sensitive gene-based test used to screen blood for HIV and hepatitis B and C. Fifteen tests (including 11 for infectious diseases) are performed on each unit of donated blood to ensure its safety for patients.

  • What happens to my blood after I donate?

    After we collect your blood, it is sent to Versiti labs for testing. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all donated blood undergo a series of lab tests before it is given to patients. We perform 15 separate tests on each unit of donated blood, which includes tests for sexually transmitted diseases, West Nile virus, hepatitis and other illnesses. If a unit of blood passes all these tests, it is safe for patients.

Donation Types

Hemoglobin and Blood Count

  • What should I do to increase my blood count?

    Taking an iron tablet can be beneficial in helping to replace the iron lost in the process of donating blood. Multivitamins with iron generally contain small amounts of iron, but can be sufficient if taken daily. There are also a number of stronger oral iron pills available over the counter at most drug stores. These pills replace the lost iron more rapidly and are generally less expensive than multivitamins. If you choose to take an oral iron tablet, your physician or pharmacist can provide more specific information about the advantages and disadvantages of different oral iron supplements, and help you decide which may be best for you.

  • What are the causes of a low blood count?

    Low blood counts can have a number of causes and they vary between women and men.

    Causes for low blood count in women:

    The most common cause of low blood count in women who are premenopausal, is iron deficiency caused by menstrual blood loss. Women of childbearing age have high iron requirements because of the extra iron needed for menstruation and pregnancy. Eating iron-rich foods may be sufficient to correct iron deficiency in some individuals; however, some women will need to take oral iron supplements in order to increase their blood count enough to donate blood. 

    If you are a post-menopausal woman and not donating three or more times per year, your blood count may still be within the normal range for women, but not high enough to donate blood. Please note that the lower end of normal range for non-African-American women is 11.3 gm/dl and for African-American women is 10.5 gm/dl. If the test performed today indicated that your blood count is below normal range, you may need to see your personal physician for further testing to determine the cause of your low blood count.

    Causes for low blood count in men:

    If you are not donating three or more times per year, your deferral today indicates that you may have a medical condition which is causing your low blood count.  In men, a blood count below 13 gm/dl is considered anemic. Your personal physician can perform additional testing to confirm the cause of your low blood count and determine its cause.

  • Why was I unable to donate blood today?

    A low blood count is the most common reason that potential donors are not able to donate (deferral). The blood taken prior to donation provides a hemoglobin value. You were deferred because your blood count (hemoglobin value) was below the lower limit of acceptability to donate, which is 13 gm/dl for men, and 12.5 gm/dl for women.

Iron for Blood Donors

  • Are hemoglobin and iron the same thing?

    No! Hemoglobin is the protein that functions within red blood cells to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Iron is an essential mineral important for the structure and function of hemoglobin and several other proteins in the body. 

  • Can I overdose on iron?

    No, if the iron supplementation is taken as recommended.

  • How long does it take to restore iron post-donation?

    Approximately 6 months or more with a healthy diet. 1-2 months with an iron supplement.

  • Should I take an iron supplement?

    Yes. Replace iron loss by taking an oral iron supplement daily for 60 days immediately following your blood donation. We recommend taking an over-the-counter (OTC) supplement or multivitamin containing 18mg of elemental iron per day.

  • What is the difference between testing for hemoglobin and testing for iron?

    Your hemoglobin level tells us how many red blood cells are circulating in your body right now, and how much will be left after you donate one unit of blood. 

    When iron is measured by ferritin level, it is an indicator of the body’s total iron stores and therefore your capacity to make more red blood cells to replace the ones you’ve donated. 

    Ferritin testing must be performed at a laboratory and cannot be performed at the time of your donation. Blood Centers are now evaluating how to utilize this test in assessing a donor’s ability to be a frequent blood donor.

  • Why is iron important?

    It is important to keep a healthy iron level so your body can build new red blood cells daily and also replace those you donate. Iron is also important for normal growth and development, energy level
    and brain function.

Rare Blood Donors

Ro Blood Donors

  • Does having Ro Blood mean that I am more likely to be sick?

    No, Ro characteristics on blood cells are not abnormal and perform normally. Ro does not mean that you have sickle cell.

  • Does it mean it will be difficult for me to receive blood?

    The vast majority of blood recipients have no trouble. Patients on chronic transfusions, like those with Sickle Cell Disease, are at a higher risk for developing issues if more specifically matched blood is not available.

  • Does my family have this too?

    Perhaps, like all blood types Ro is inherited from your parents. There is a significant chance that others in your family also have this special type.

  • How do you know if I am a Ro donor?

    Versiti tests every donor’s blood to find the best matches for patients. This is how we ensure an ample blood supply for hospitals and patients. After donating, if your blood has Ro characteristics, Versiti may contact you to let you know your blood is very needed.

  • How often will you need me?

    Ideally, three or more donations a year. Sickle Cell Disease patients reliant on transfusion require 8-10 units per month. That means they rely on 8-10 donors a month for one treatment. You are invaluable to these patients!

  • What's an Ro Donor?

    It is a normal blood type that is specially found in only 4% of our current donors.

  • What's different about these donors?

    They don’t express specific proteins that make their blood a safer transfusion for those with sickle cell disease.

  • Where does my blood go?

    Versiti supplies sickle cell disease programs locally and nationally, your blood will be sent to the patient that needs it most.

Sickle Cell Disease

  • What Causes Sickle Cell Disease?
    • SCD is inherited in the same way that people get the color of their eyes, skin and hair.
    • A person with SCD is born with it.
    • People cannot “catch” SCD from being around a person who has it.
  • What Is Sickle Cell Disease?
    • Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders.
    • Healthy red blood cells are round and they move through small blood vessels carrying oxygen to all parts of the body.
    • For someone with SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle.”
    • Sickle cells die early in comparison to non-sickle cells, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells.
    • Sickle cells can get stuck in small blood vessels and block the flow of blood and oxygen to organs in the body. These changes in cells can cause repeated episodes of severe pain, organ damage, serious infections or even stroke.
    • Although there is no cure for sickle cell disease, blood transfusions (supplied exclusively by volunteer blood donors like you!) are a critical part of treatment. 
    • Many times, only blood transfusions can relieve the pain and complications that occur during a sickle cell episode. 
    • Blood that closely matches that of a patient is less likely to be rejected by the patient and can mean fewer complications after a transfusion.
  • Who Is Affected by Sickle Cell Disease?
    • It is estimated that SCD affects 90,000 to 100,000 people in the United States, mainly people of African descent.
    • The disease occurs among about 1 of every 365 births of African descent and among about 1 of every 36,000 births of Hispanic descent.
    • SCD affects millions of people throughout the world and is particularly common among those whose ancestors come from sub-Saharan Africa; regions in the Western Hemisphere (South America, the Caribbean and Central America); Saudi Arabia; India; and Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Greece and Italy.
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