Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects millions worldwide. Blood transfusion is a major weapon in the fight against it and can significantly reduce pain and improve quality of life for sickle cell patients.

Sickle cell disease, or SCD, affects the shape and function of red blood cells. The disease is caused by a mutation in the hemoglobin gene, which is responsible for producing a protein that carries oxygen throughout the body. This mutation causes red blood cells to take on a crescent or "sickle" shape and can lead to blockages of blood vessels, anemia, organ damage, infections and stroke.

In the United States, Black people are the most heavily impacted, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that 1 out of every 365 African American children are born with sickle cell. Hispanic Americans also carry a higher risk of inheriting the disease, but at a much lower rate than African Americans. The CDC estimates 1 out of 16,300 Hispanic Americans are born with SCD.

More on Sickle Cell Disease

Living with Sickle Cell Disease

The Importance of African American Blood Donation

Because blood types vary among different populations, it's crucial that healthy donors from all of our communities give blood regularly. Those regular donations ensure a healthy and diverse blood supply, which in turn allows for patients with specific blood types to receive compatible blood when needed.

In the case of sickle cell, it's especially important that Black Americans donate blood, as they are often the best match for an SCD patient in need of a transfusion.

Mayor Darrell Davis

When Edmond, Oklahoma Mayor Darrell Davis learned that his rare blood type could help a patient with sickle cell, he booked an appointment for the very next day.

"We need each other. You have a blood type that I need, I have blood that people need. Why not share it?"

Watch His Story

Remembering CJ Acquaye

Claudius James "CJ" Acquaye passed away in June 2022 after a long battle with sickle cell disease, just three days shy of his 37th birthday. A father, son and friend to many, Acquaye was known for his infectious laughter and his love for people.

Acquaye received regular blood products from Our Blood Institute, thanks to the generosity of donors in the central Oklahoma area. After his death, Acquaye's mother, Mina, contacted OBI and requested that a Legacy Blood Drive take place in his honor. That drive, hosted on World Sickle Cell Day the following June, wasn't just a celebration of an exceptional life. Twenty-one people gave blood for the first time.

"For me, CJ is not gone at all," Mina says. "He's living on through the blood drives, the Legacy Blood Drive, and he's living on through his friends who signed up."

If you have lost a loved one and would like to learn more about Legacy Blood Drives, visit or email us at

A Sickle Cell Warrior

Kristi Dansby has received more than 1,000 blood transfusions during her lifelong battle with sickle cell disease.

"You do not know how many lives that you will be able to save," she said. "Please, take the time out of your life and give someone else life."

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