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Mid-South church hosts regular blood drives aimed at helping sickle cell patients

The next drive is Jan. 16, 2023, in honor of MLK Day, from 2 p.m. to 8.m. at New Covenant Seventh Day Adventist Church at 4335 Horn Lake Rd.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The American Red Cross and New Covenant Seventh Day Adventist Church have partnered up to hold regular blood drives as part of an effort to combat Sickle Cell Disease.

The next drive is scheduled for Jan. 16, 2023, in honor of MLK Day, from 2 p.m. to 8.m. at the church at 4335 Horn Lake Rd. Another will be held on Feb. 23.

“This is the first church New Covenant Seventh-day Adventist that’s committed to do regular sickle cell blood drives,” said Sarah Breazeale, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Mid-South.

Individuals can only give blood once every 56 days.

“You know, we decide we’re going to do it every 56 days. Every 56 days this church will be open to help a life,” said Rev. Cory Jackson Sr., Senior Pastor of New Covenant Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Experts say sickle cell disease is the most common genetic blood disorder in the US. It is estimated that more than 100,000 individuals have sickle cell disease, and some people don’t know they carry the trait for it.

“Why this drive is so important is that one of three African American blood donors are actually a match for people with sickle cell disease. That’s why it’s critically important that churches and organizations and everybody that can give blood does give blood,” said Breazeale.

For Rev. Jackson, sickle cell hits close to home. He said one of his daughters has the sickle cell trait. And one of the men in his congregation has sickle cell and has benefited from receiving blood.

“Blood drives is one of things that particularly Black churches in general do not do. We make up 13% of the population but only 3% of this population gives blood. And so, when it comes to sickle cell, you need ‘Black blood’ to fulfill the necessary need of helping someone be saved,” said Rev. Jackson.

“Individuals with sickle cell disease, they may receive multiple blood transfusion a year. They may receive up to 100 units of blood each year and that’s just to manage the pain and manage potentially life-threatening complications, like anemia, tissue and organ damage even strokes. So, it’s vitally important that as many individuals in the Black community that are willing and can give blood, do give blood,” said Breazeale.

“It’s just a blessing for me personally when you get the alert and it tells you where your blood went and how it helped,” said Rev. Jackson. “Someone has a dream to receive some blood. Someone has a dream to get out of bed. Someone has a dream to have some energy, to get up. And so we want to make sure that we provide that dream to be fulfilled.”

For anyone interested in learning more of hosting a blood drive, contact the American Red Cross, who can make it easy. They will provide everything needed to make it successful.

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