New York Blood Center To Offer Free Sickle Cell Trait Testing For National Sickle Cell Awareness Month

New York Blood Center (NYBC) will be 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. A list of participating blood drives can be found at this link.

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.

People who inherit one sickle cell gene and one normal gene have sickle cell trait. While if a person tests positive for sickle cell trait it does not mean that they have sickle cell disease, it does demonstrate that they can pass the trait on to their children. Understanding one’s sickle cell trait can help them to make better decisions for their health and their families.

“New York Blood Center is proud to be a leader in sickle cell disease research and to provide life-saving blood to our area’s hospitals to treat these patients who require frequent transfusions,” said Andrea Cefarelli, Senior Executive Vice President at New York Blood Center. “We hope this initiative will inspire New Yorkers to donate blood and get tested for sickle cell trait as these tests will allow donors to make more informed decisions regarding their health.”

NYBC leading research in sickle cell disease focuses on preventing

and treating complications, including pain episodes and tissue injury, and developing

novel strategies to help cure the disease through stem cell transplantation and gene

therapy. As home to some of the world’s foremost comprehensive programs in transfusion management of patients with sickle cell disease, NYBC hopes that this initiative will help to combat sickle cell disease and its complications by raising awareness about both the prevalence of sickle cell disease, the sickle cell trait, and the need for blood donations from people of color. 

We are taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19. As always, people are not eligible to donate if they’re experiencing a cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms. Additional information on donor eligibility and COVID-19 precautions is available here.

To make an appointment at one of these blood drives, donors can call 1-800-933-2566 or visit www.nybc.org/SCTraitTesting. Can’t donate blood? You can still support NYBC’s mission by texting ‘NYBC’ to ‘20222’ to give $25.

New York Blood Center

Founded in 1964, New York Blood Center (NYBC) is a nonprofit organization that is one of the largest independent, community-based blood centers in the world.

NYBC, along with its operating divisions Community Blood Center of Kansas City, Missouri (CBC), Innovative Blood Resources (IBR), Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD), and Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC), collect approximately 4,000 units of blood products each day and serve local communities of more than 75 million people in the Tri-State area (NY, NJ, CT), Mid Atlantic area (PA, DE, MD, VA), Missouri and Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Southern New England.

NYBC and its operating divisions also provide a wide array of transfusion-related medical services to over 500 hospitals nationally, including Comprehensive Cell Solutions, the National Center for Blood Group Genomics, the National Cord Blood Program, and the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute, which — among other milestones — developed a practical screening method for hepatitis B as well as a safe, effective and affordable vaccine, and a patented solvent detergent plasma process innovating blood-purification technology worldwide.

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