The American Red Cross, Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Inc. and the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia, Inc. on National Blood Drives Initiative

The new partnership expands education and outreach efforts to increase blood donations among African-American populations

The American Red Cross, the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Inc. and the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia, Inc. announced a five-year partnership in 2018, as well as a national blood drive and educational campaign that will enhance awareness about sickle cell disease while addressing critical blood supply needs. This initiative targets African-American blood donors and highlights the need for a stable supply of blood donors of African descent. Through collaboration with community-based organizations, advocacy groups, colleges and universities, hospitals, and others, this partnership helps ensure patients have access to lifesaving blood products.

The annual goal of the campaign is to mobilize 100 blood drives (with a minimum of 30 units collected per drive) targeting African-American donors across the nation. Over the five-year partnership, it is anticipated that upwards of 15,000 blood donations will be made, helping to save thousands of lives.

“The Red Cross is proud to partner with the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America and the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia,” said Vincent Edwards, national director of Red Cross Blood Services. “A diverse blood supply is critical to being able to help all patients in need. Blood from people of a similar race and ethnicity as a patient can provide the best health outcomes and fewer complications from a transfusion.”

“The Sickle Cell Disease Association of America is excited about this new partnership and the impact it can have on saving lives,” said SCDAA President and CEO Beverley Francis-Gibson. “We know that every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. Individuals living with a chronic illness, like sickle cell disease, are especially in need of blood transfusions and donated blood. This unique partnership will provide new opportunities for the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia and the Red Cross to not only inform and educate the public about sickle cell disease and the sickle cell trait, but also to activate and engage the African-American community about the immense importance of donating blood.”

Blood Facts

  • Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S.
  • Nearly 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily in the U.S.
  • Nearly 21 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.
  • The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 units.
  • The blood type most often requested by hospitals is type O.

“African-American people who require blood transfusions from being injured or ill – including those with sickle cell disease – all depend on a stable blood supply and ideally, blood that closely matches their own,” explained SCFG President and CEO Deb McGhee McCrary. “This is why it is important for African-Americans to donate and receive blood from other African Americans.”

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.