Lifesouth Community Blood Center Brings Awareness to Sickle Cell

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Sickle Cell is a devastating disease that causes a lack of oxygen to the blood.

While hundreds of blood donations in our area have helped those suffering from the disease, more donations are needed.

Marlo Richardson knows first-hand how deadly sickle cell can be. 10 years ago her daughter Alicia Smith died from the disease.

“She actually suffered her first major crisis that landed her in the hospital at the age of 5,” said Richardson.

Since then, Richardson seizes every opportunity that she can to save a life.

“I give blood as often as I can because I know it’s needed. I know the sickle cell patients really need the blood transfusions,” said Richardson.

Stephanie Shorter of Lifesouth says it’s critical that more African Americans donate blood.

“Right now, only 1 percent of African Americans donate blood,” said Shorter.

Willie White Jr. is  part of that 1 percent. He is one of hundreds of donors at Lifesouth who are called Sickle Cell Heroes. His blood has special antibodies to help sickle cell patients.

“I have donated every time. I have donated at the mall, when the bus is over there. I have donated at my church,” said White.

Lifesouth staff say sometimes sickle cell patients need up to 4 pints of blood during a crisis. Donors want other people to know that it’s simple to save a life.

“It’s not that difficult. You get that little sting but it’s well worth it because it can save someone’s life.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control around 100,000 people in the U.S are affected by Sickle Cell.

Lifesouth Community Blood Centers serve hospitals across Alabama including Baptist South, Baptist East, Jackson hospital.