Agencies came together Saturday to sponsor a blood drive ahead of World Sickle Cell Day.
Supporters of Families with Sickle Cell Disease, Inc, 100 Black Men of Tulsa, the George Clinkscale Foundation, the Tulsa Urban League, and Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) partnered for an 'Every Drop Counts' blood drive in observance of World Sickle Cell Day at the Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League in the 200 block of East Apache Street in Tulsa from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
In 2008, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution which categorized Sickle Cell Disease as a public health problem and one of the world's foremost genetic diseases, requiring heightened awareness and activism, diagnosis, and management. The result of the resolution was that June 19th was declared as World Sickle Cell Day to increase awareness of the condition worldwide.
"Sickle Cell Disease is described as a blood disorder which affects the red hemoglobin," said Velvet Brown-Watts with the Tulsa Urban League. "That is the cell in the body that carries oxygen. So I would tell people it is an oxygen-depriving disease."
Oklahoma has been screening newborns for Sickle Cell Disease since 1990.
"People in Oklahoma find out that they have Sickle Cell Disease by their newborns' screenings," Brown-Watts said. "That's done to all babies now."
Each year, more than 10,000 Americans face life-threatening diseases from cancers and Sickle Cell Disease for which the only possible cure is a marrow transplant.
Many of those in need are children, and only 30 percent find a family member who is a matched donor.
All healthy individuals, aged 18 to 60, were encouraged to join the national marrow registry at this drive.
Organizers hoped donors could experience the incredible satisfaction of helping save up to three peoples' lives at the blood drive. Each donor received a voucher redeemable for two tickets to the Tulsa Zoo and a T-shirt featuring the Zoo's wildlife.
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