Mission

The mission of Sickle Cell Warrior is to simply increase awareness and knowledge about sickle cell disease and to empower patients and families to take control of their health and their live.  Let's Break the Cycle!


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What is sickle cell disease?

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects nearly 100,000 people in the United States.

Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen in the blood. Normal red blood cells are round and flexible, which enables them to travel through small blood vessels to deliver oxygen to all parts of the body.

Sickle cell disease causes red blood cells to form into a crescent shape, like a sickle. The sickle-shaped red blood cells break apart easily, causing anemia. Sickle red blood cells live only 10-20 days instead of the normal 120 days. The damaged sickle red blood cells also clump together and stick to the walls of blood vessels, blocking blood flow. This can cause severe pain and permanent damage to the brain, heart,lungs, kidneys, liver, bones, and spleen. Severe pain is an emergency called acute sickle cell crisis. A person may not know what brought on the pain, but infection and dehydration are common triggers.

Sickle cell disease is most common in Africans and African-Americans. It is also found in other ethnic and racial groups, including people from South and Central America, the Caribbean, Mediterranean countries, and India.

What is sickle cell trait?

Sickle cell trait (SCT) is not a disease, but having it means that a person has inherited the sickle cell gene from one of his or her parents. People with SCT usually do not have any of the symptoms of sickle cell disease (SCD) and live a normal life.

How Does Someone Get Sickle Cell Trait?
People who have inherited one sickle cell gene and one normal gene have SCT. This means the person won’t have the disease, but will be a trait “carrier” and can pass it on to his or her children.

Who Is Affected By Sickle Cell Trait? 
SCT affects 1 in 12 Blacks or African Americans in the United States.

  • SCT is most common among Blacks or African Americans, but can be found among people whose ancestors come from sub-Saharan Africa; the Western Hemisphere (South America, the Caribbean, and Central America); Saudi Arabia; India; and Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy.
  • Approximately 3 million people living in the United States have SCT and many are unaware of their status.

How do you get sickle cell disease?

Sickle cell disease is not contagious; you cannot “catch” it. You inherit it from your parents.

  • If both parents have SCT, there is a 50% (or 1 in 2) chance that the child also will have SCT if the child inherits the sickle cell gene from one of the parents. Such children will not have symptoms of SCD, but they can pass SCT on to their children.
  • If both parents have SCT, there is a 25% (or 1 in 4) chance that the child will have SCD.
  • There is the same 25% (or 1 in 4) chance that the child will not have SCD or SCT.
  • If one parent has SCT, there is a 50% (or 1 in 2) chance that the child will have SCT and an equal 50% chance that the child will not have SCT.


 

Types of sickle cell disease?

The three most common forms of the disease in the United States are:

  1. Hemoglobin SS or sickle cell anemia
  2. Hemoglobin SC disease
  3. Hemoglobin sickle beta-thalassemia (a form of “Cooley’s” anemia)

Each of these can cause very painful “crisis” episodes and in severe cases lead to stroke, heart attack and death.

 
 

Donating Blood

Patients with Sickle Cell Disease are routinely transfused. It is critical that matching blood is found and used for these patients. This blood would most likely come from other African Americans and Hispanics.

Each of us has a “unique blood type” that we inherited from our parents just like our skin color, hair color and eye color. Imagine the number of possibilities! We live in the most racially and ethnically diverse area of the country and our patient population reflects this diversity. This is why it is sometimes very difficult to find a “rare type” for our patients.

There is a critical and growing need for African American and Hispanic Blood Donors in the United States.

  • African-Americans account for 7.3% of nationwide blood donations but 1 in 500 African Americans are born with Sickle Cell disease.
  • Hispanics account for 4.4% of blood donations but 1 in 1000 Latinos are born with Sickle Cell Disease.
  • Increasing the number of African-American and Hispanic blood donors is critical to the overall stability of our blood supply and our ability to treat patients with Sickle Cell Disease.
  • 20% of African Americans have type B blood vs. 11% of Caucasians – if African Americans are not donating, the blood supply may not contain enough type B blood to meet African American patients’ needs Certain blood types (U-negative, Duffy-negative, Js(b)-negative) occur only in African American individuals. Patients with these blood types can only receive blood transfusions from blood donated by compatible African American donors.
  • Type O blood is more common among non-Caucasians. Individuals with type O blood are referred to as “universal donors”. O negative blood can be transfused in emergencies to patients before there is time to identify the patient’s blood type. It can also be transfused to newborn babies.
  • Type O blood is more common among non-Caucasians. Individuals with type O blood are referred to as “universal donors”. O negative blood can be transfused in emergencies to patients before there is time to identify the patient’s blood type. It can also be transfused to newborn babies.
  • Blood donations from African American and Hispanic donors can treat a broader cross-section of the patient population than blood from Caucasians.
  • Sickle Cell Disease also affects people from the Caribbean, Middle East, India and the Mediterranean
  • 3 in 10 of Mediterranean (Greek/Italian) Americans, 5 in 100 of Southeast Asian/ Middle Eastern and 3 in 100 of African/Hispanic Americans carry the gene for Thalassemia ( congenital disorder of formation of hemoglobin)
  • An estimated 1 in 100 Cancer patients can form antibodies to red cells after transfusion

Blood Centers

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Alabama
Florida
Georgia

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Mississippi
Louisiana

  California

California