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World Sickle Cell Day, blood donations needed

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s World Sickle Cell Day and a local blood center is urging people to donate, especially minorities.

The Indiana Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center is widely renowned for blood disorder research and clinical treatment. It says only about .5 percent of donated blood comes from Black Americans–yet those with Sickle Cell Disease are majority Black.

Sickle Cell is an inherited blood disease that leaves patients in need of blood transfusions.

Dr. Angeli Rampersad with the center said, it’s extremely important to receive blood that is similar to your ethnic background. Local centers like Versiti and the American Red Cross are accepting donations.

Sharon Hutcher-Hutchinson from Indianapolis, told News 8 that she was diagnosed at age two. Sharon is now age 60 and often faces challenges when getting blood. She can feel tired, chest discomfort, shortness of breath and pain during days when her blood count is low.

“Sometimes I have to wait. I can go in the hospital and need a blood transfusion and I may have to wait 3-4 days before I get the blood transfusion because we may have to get the blood from maybe Texas or Oklahoma or somewhere, and it has to be delivered here,” Hutcher-Hutchinson said.

Dr. David Hedrick, Adult Hematologist-Oncologist said, “Anytime that anybody can donate you’re helping somebody. You may be helping your neighbor, you may be helping your friend down the street because you never know when you need a transfusion whether that’s from an illness, an accident or anything that can make some anemic.”

Hutcher-Hutchinson said, she hopes others will be open to donating blood to help save the next life and to keep the blood supply as diverse as possible.