Diverse blood donors needed to help Kentuckians fight sickle cell

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- A sickle blood cell drive is being held at the Bowling Green Parks and Rec Community Center Friday afternoon. 

The American Red Cross and Shake Rag Barbershop are partnering to host the event. 

September is National Sickle Cell Awareness month. The disease affects nearly 750 residents in Kentucky and 100,000 people in the country. 

Donation numbers are down as less people are getting out and donating blood during the pandemic. Having sickle cell also increases the risk of severe complications from COVID-19. 

American Red Cross external communications manager Tiffany Taylor says why this event is important. 

“Sickle cell disease is the most genetic blood disease in the U.S. which affects predominantly African Americans and Latino populations. And so those who are diagnosed with sickle cell have to deal with this disease their entire life,” said Taylor. 

The event starts at 11:30 a.m. and goes until 5:30 p.m. Taylor said people of all diversities and blood types are encouraged to donate.