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Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center joins the nationwide effort to raise awareness and promote understanding of sickle cell disease (SCD) during National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. As a part of our campaign, we emphasize the community's vital role in treating this disease through blood donations. Additionally, we are introducing a sickle cell trait screening for all Black donors during the month.


SCD is a genetic disorder that affects red blood cells, causing them to become rigid with pointed ends instead of the typical round shape. The cells die early, creating a shortage of red blood cells in these individuals; they can also get stuck in small blood vessels, slowing blood flow, causing pain, tissue and organ damage, or even strokes.


Approximately 100,000 Americans have sickle cell disease. People who inherit a sickle cell gene from one parent and a normal gene from the other are known to have a sickle cell trait. Having sickle cell trait does not mean having sickle cell disease. Individuals with sickle cell trait typically live a normal life, but they may pass on the trait to their children. If the child receives a trait gene from each parent, he/she can be born with sickle cell disease.


Most patients in the United States with SCD are Black or of African descent. Blood from donors of the same race or ethnicity is more likely compatible with the special transfusion needs these patients require. Therefore, having a diverse group of donors is crucial to ensure that patients in local hospitals receive blood that closely aligns with their own. Just as your blood type depends on your parents' blood types, being a match with relatives and those with a similar ancestry can be highly beneficial to patients who require multiple transfusions throughout their lifetime.


This September, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center offers a community health screening program that will provide complimentary sickle cell trait screening to all Black donors who donate blood at one of our donor centers or mobile blood drives. 2023 is our first year offering this program and is limited to the community most impacted by the disease.


Being aware of your status can benefit future family planning and possibly other medical considerations. We can detect the trait through a simple blood test, from your donation. Results will be mailed to the address listed in your Digital Donor account within three weeks of your donation. Please ensure your address is current and correctly updated.


Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center invites our community to unite in making a meaningful impact on the lives of individuals living with sickle cell disease. We can pave the way toward a healthier future through awareness, blood donations, and testing. To find a location for donation or for more information, please visit

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