September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month

American Red Cross is asking the community to remember patients who are need in need of blood. 

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month and the American Red Cross is asking the community to remember patients who are need in need of blood. 

Out of the 100,000 people living with sickle cell disease most are black, according to the American Red Cross. The organizations says black blood donors play a critical role in being the most compatible match for those with the disease. Vesha Jamison with the Red Cross has a son with sickle cell disease. She says like her son there are families in the Midlands suffering from the disease daily 

“Sickle cell is a blood disorder of the red blood cells so where most people make nice round soft blood cells that flow easily through the bloodstream, patients with sickle blood disease form distorted blood cells. They’re shaped like a sickle and they’re hard, rigid, and they don’t flow freely through the bloodstream. Those entrapments because they do get trapped cause excruciating pain,” says Jamison.

Minister Timothy Griffin who calls himself a sickle cell warrior was born with the disease and in 2015 he experienced his first pain crisis.

“I was in the hospital for three months and I had like a Jonah like moment and I felt like I was in the pit of hell and it was excruciating, it was painful, something I would never wish on my worst enemy. So in those three months all I could do is pray, all I could do was be with my parents, my family, and my love ones,” says Griffin.

Jamison says the American Red Cross remains in a critical state with its blood supply shortage and is in desperate need of consistent donors. 

Griffin says he’s blessed he got the blood he needed. “Having to wait for something that can help you recover or feel better instantly, like the fact that someone has to wait on that . . it can be heartbreaking.”

In those three months of his pain crisis wrote a book titled Living Beyond. It encourages people to live beyond their diagnosis.

“It birthed something beautiful. I’m still medically a sickle cell patient but the pain crisis aren’t as severe being that I do have SS which is the worst form of sickle cell. I just know that God is a healer and I’m living beyond the story that so many people have today,” says Griffin. 

And for those who need a little extra push to make the first step to donate Griffin says, “I want to let them know that they’re a superhero and that they’re saving somebody’s life that they might not see but when you look at me just know that my life has been saved from a blood transfusion.”

For more information about Sickle Cell Awareness month, visit https://scdhec.gov/

If you would like to donate blood. Here is a list of upcoming Red Cross blood drives in the Midlands:

 

 Strong Group – Kick-off Sickle Cell Month Blood Drive
Saturday, August 27 from 10 am – 3 pm
Eastover Park – 1031 Main Street, Eastover
Sponsor code: Bstrong

Christian Faith Fellowship Church
Thursday, September 1 from 2 – 6 pm
2625 Alpine Road, Columbia
Sponsor code: CFF

Chi Iota Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi
Saturday, September 10 from 9 am – 2 pm
10204 Two Notch Road, Columbia
Sponsor code: Omega

South Carolina State University
Thursday, September 15 from 11 am – 4 pm
300 College Street NE, Orangeburg
Sponsor code: SCState

The Brook Church
Thursday, September 15 from 1 – 6 pm
8328 Parklane Rd, Columbia
Sponsor code: TheBrook

 Blue Cross Blue Shield
Monday, Sept. 19 & Tuesday, Sept. 22 from 10 am – 2 pm
2401 Faraway Drive, Columbia
Sponsor code: SCBlood

In Honor of Mario Jenkins, Sickle Cell Warrior
Wednesday, September 21 from 10 am – 3 pm
2751 Bull Street, Columbia, SC
Sponsor code: Mario

 Historic Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church
Sunday, September 25 from 1 – 5:30 pm
311 West Boyce St, Manning
Sponsor code: EbenezerManning

Benedict College
Tuesday, September 27 from 11 am – 4 pm
1600 Harden Street, Columbia
Sponsor code: Benedict

Midlands of SC Black Nurses Association
Wednesday, September 28 from 2:30 – 7 pm
2751 Bull Street, Columbia
Sponsor code: Diverse

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