GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Saturday, September 14th the LD Barksdale Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation will host a free Sickle Cell Block Party to educate, entertain, and earn blood donations.
LD Barskdale’s Executive Director, Rhonda Young, said the wider community’s knowledge of the disease is limited.
Even those who know about the disease, Young added, sometimes don’t know how to get the help or fail to learn how to get the help they need.
“We want to make sure that people are educated, because that is the only way that we will see the demise of sickle cell disease,” Young said.
A simple explanation according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, sickle cell anemia disease is a group of disorders that affects red blood cells. These cells help deliver oxygen throughout the body. But, the disease can distort the cells into a sickle, or crescent, shape making it difficult to travel through the body.
LD Barksdale has worked with Prisma Health Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Program to help spread information about the disease.
Dr. Alan Anderson, of Prisma Health, said their program is unique because they’re one of only a few who treat the disease from child through adulthood.
“The crux of what we need to focus on is the young adults and adults with the disease. So, that’s what we’re doing right now. We can’t do that in the community without partners so we have to really rely on the LDBarskale Sickel Cell Anemia Foundation as our community voice,” Dr. Anderson said.
Sickle Cell Warrior, Toyanita Jones, has been battling the disease for 32 years. She said some days are harder than others.
She explained, while the block party is fun, blood donors attending the block party an important part.
“Maybe a child has been suffering for a couple of weeks now and needs blood and needs, you know, your donation. You don’t know how much your donation can just change somebody else’s life,” Jones said.
Jones said it’s thanks to blood donors she’s able to get the treatments she needs to continue to living her life the best she can.
The Blood Connection will have a blood drive mobile on at the Block Party on Saturday, September 14th from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The goal for Blood Connection, Prisma Health and LD Barksdale is to have 40 blood donations on site by the end of the block party.
The Sickle Cell Block Party will be at the Sterling Community Center, 113 Minus St, Greenville, SC 29601, on Saturday, September 14th from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
For more information about the sickle cell disease, click here.