Ten-year-old Malik is a young boy who suffers from sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease causes him severe chronic pain, loss of energy and requires him to receive blood transfusions. Because Malik will likely receive blood transfusions for much of his life, his family and friends will host a blood and marrow drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20, at Hope Fellowship Church, 1135 E. State St., in Rockford.
Blood transfusions are necessary in the treatment of sickle cell disease to treat severe anemia and prevent strokes. Blood transfusions bring an instantaneous boost to Malik’s spirits and health. Malik’s family is hoping to educate the community about sickle cell and the need for more blood donors and diversity within the donor base. While doing so, they hope to collect at least 25 units of blood. Donors may also join the Be the Match Marrow Donor Registry. Marrow/stem cell transplants are often used in the treatment of sickle cell anemia.
Donating blood is safe and simple. You are most likely able to donate if you are at least 17 years old (16-year-olds may donate with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds, and are in general good health. People taking medications are not necessarily disqualified.
The Rock River Valley Blood Center serves as a centralized, community blood center and is the sole provider of blood products and services to Beloit Memorial Hospital, Edgerton Hospital and Health Services, FHN, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, Rochelle Community Hospital, Rockford Health System, SwedishAmerican Health System and SwedishAmerican Medical Center — Belvidere. For more information or to make an appointment to donate blood, call Malik’s mother, La’Keshia, at (712) 202-8592 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Sept. 17-23, 2014, issue