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Nilda’s Story: Sickle Cell Awareness Month


You might only think about car accidents or other horrific incidents when blood is used, but maintaining a diverse blood supply is important to help meet the needs of all hospital patients. This September, Sickle Cell Awareness Month helps remind individuals to roll up a sleeve and donate blood, keeping a supply available for those with sickle cell and many other needs.

Many patients who live with sickle cell disease face a lifetime of blood transfusions—patients like Nilda Navedo, who regularly count on the generosity of volunteer donors to help her fight the disease. Just this past July 4th weekend, Nilda received nine units of blood.

Nilda’s family is instrumental in keeping her outlook positive as they give back through blood donation at the Red Cross. Nilda’s sister, Elizabeth Collareta, donates blood as often as she can in honor of her sister.

“Helping my sister or anyone in need is always touching,” said Elizabeth. “If I had all the money in the world I would feed the hungry or buy clothing for the poor, but since I’m not rich, donating a pint of blood to help save lives makes me feel like a millionaire.”

Transfusions from blood donors of the same ethnic background are often most beneficial because they have less chance of causing complications for the recipient. For this reason, it is extremely important to increase the number of available blood donors from all ethnic groups.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate blood or platelets, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org. You can also now download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App.