Grand Rapids African American Health Institute hosts Juneteenth community blood drive
Saturday’s blood drive aims to increase blood supplies in the area and boost awareness of the dangers of sickle cell anemia among the African American community. The event runs from 9:30am - 1:30pm at Brown-Hutcherson Ministries in Grand Rapids.
The Grand Rapids African American Health Institute is being recognized by Kent County for its work in advocating for health equity. A proclamation comes at the start of the nonprofit’s Juneteenth community blood drive this Saturday.
The blood drive is the third health-related event GRAAHI has hosted this week. Saturday's goal is to increase blood supplies in the area and boost awareness of the dangers of sickle cell anemia among the African American community.
The sickle cell gene is present in an estimated three million Americans, all of whom could pass it onto their children. The disease primarily affects Black Americans, and GRAAHI says the reality of crisis for crisis is glaring.
The life expectancy for people with the most severe form of sickle cell disease is 30 years shorter than that of people without sickle cell. The rate of stroke in adults with sickle cell is three times higher than rates in African Americans of similar age without sickle cell, and these patients have the highest rate of return to the hospital within 30 days of discharge.
Less than 3% of Black Americans are blood donors. GRAAHI said donating blood can make a difference in the lives of patients with sickle cell disease, moms with complicated childbirths, people fighting cancer, accident or trauma victims, among other individuals.