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Black Women 4 Healthy Living, a nonprofit organization based in Des Moines that focuses on the health and well-being of Black women, is leading a blood drive for sickle cell disease Saturday at Corinthian Baptist Church in Des Moines. September is national sickle cell awareness month.
Sickle cell disease is an inherited red cell blood disorder affecting 100,000 people in the U.S., many of whom are Black. The disease causes red blood cells to harden and form a C-shape (like a sickle). When hardened, the cells can get caught in blood vessels and cause serious complications, including severe pain, respiratory conditions, organ failure and stroke.
- About 1 in 13 Black/African American babies born in the U.S. test positive for the sickle cell trait.
- About 1 in 365 Blacks develop the disease over the course of their lifetime.
Blood donors are essential in the fight against the disease said Angela Mickens Bolden, a registered nurse and the organization's vice president. She said blood donations from individuals of the same ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting the disease.
"It's imperative that we highlight the health disparities of our most vulnerable community members — people living with sickle cell," Mickens Bolden said. "These individuals truly rely on our people to help them improve their quality of life by donating our blood."
The board of Black Women 4 Healthy Living. Photo courtesy of Mickens Bolden.
The free event will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24 at Corinthian Baptist Church, 814 School St. in Des Moines. Participants can make an appointment for Saturday's event by calling the American Red Cross at 1-(800) 733-2767 or by visiting the website and entering the code: Corinthian. Use a QR reader to scan the QR code below for more information. Walk-ins are welcome, but participants are encouraged make an appointment.
A vaccine clinic will also be held during the event. Participants can get COVID-19 vaccinations, boosters and the flu vaccine.
Mickens Bolden noted some people are restricted from donating blood, including:
- those who are currently sick
- those with flu-like symptoms within the past 30 days
- those with HIV, leukemia, low iron levels
- those undergoing chemotherapy
- those on heart medications or some antibiotics
- those who have sickle cell disease
The Black Women 4 Healthy Living board includes Brandi Miller, president; Jamie Sinnah-Yovonie, secretary; Rhashida Russell, officer; Lacinda McClendon, chaplain; Pashion Muhammad, treasurer; Anesa Buchanan, officer and Mickens Bolden. The organization addresses the needs of Black women using a holistic approach, including physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, financially and justice. Their goal: empower, encourage and motivate Black women to live healthfully.
"We bring awareness of health disparities that impact Black women," Mickens Bolden said. "Our goal is to close the disparities gap and increase health outcomes in Black women."
Carnival for Christ
Courtesy of Black Women 4 Healthy Living
The first Carnival for Christ will be held from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Corinthian Baptist Church in the parking lot. The community event features food, vendors, games, music, a bouncy house and community resources — with a gospel message.
Photos: Black Women 4 Healthy Living (BW4HL) courtesy of Mickens Bolden.