New York Blood Center Needs More First Time Blood Donors of African American Descent

Fate of Single Mom Relies On New Blood Donors

NEW YORK, Feb. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  A hospitalized single mother from Queens is calling for more African Americans to become blood donors, so that she and many others may be able to live.  People may call New York Blood Center at 1-800-933-BLOOD (2566) or visit www.nybloodcenter.org for more information about giving blood, and where to donate.

Davina Daniels, 37, suffers from sickle cell disease. A Springfield Gardens resident of African American decent, she has a rare blood type.  Blood transfusions from matching African American donors are critical for her survival.  Davina was hospitalized last week in New Hyde Park, NY, after suffering from what is called sickle cell "crisis," a life-threatening situation.  But according to New York Blood Center's PreciseMatch Program, there has been difficulty finding donors who match her blood type for a transfusion.

"At this time, we have just one matching donor actively giving blood that may be used for her care," said Melinda Caltabiano, Director of New York Blood Center's PreciseMatch® Program.  "We need more African Americans to become blood donors, and give blood regularly."

While Davina Daniels is hospitalized, family members care for her teenage son, Merrik.

New York Blood Center (NYBC), which serves more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania, serves one of the most diverse areas in the nation.  First time blood donors of African American and Hispanic descent are particularly needed, to increase the chances of finding a blood match for special patients like Davina Daniels.

Sickle cell disease affects an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 Americans.  People with sickle cell have red blood cells that contain an abnormal type of hemoglobin. These cells can become crescent shaped, and have difficulty passing through the body's small blood vessels. This eventually damages vessels and tissues.

Sickle cell disease occurs in about one out of every 500 African Americans births, and about one out of every 36,000 Hispanic American births.  To inherit sickle cell, a child must inherit two abnormal genes, one from each parent. With only one gene, he or she will inherit the sickle cell trait.  Sickle cell trait occurs in about one in 12 African Americans.

Blood Donors play a key role in the fight against Sickle Cell Disease.  People with sickle cell disease require repeated transfusions of healthy red blood cells to replace their "sickled" ones. Over time, frequently transfused patients may build up antibodies in their blood, requiring more and more precisely matched red cell transfusions.  These can only come from someone who has inherited the same antigens, or markers, in their blood.  Like eye color, or other inherited characteristics, this "precise match" blood is most often found in someone from the same ethnic or racial background.

The goal of New York Blood Center's PreciseMatch® Program is to ensure diverse communities have access to the most precisely matched blood products whenever patients might need them, but this can't be done without public help.  Please give blood regularly, or become a blood donor today.  If you cannot donate, then please ask someone to donate for you.

NYBC urges donors who have been notified that they are a match for someone to please donate blood every 56 days, regardless of where you currently reside.

To donate blood or for information on how to organize a blood drive, Please call Toll Free:  1-800-933-2566

Visit:  www.nybloodcenter.org

Any company, community organization, place of worship, or individual may host a blood drive.  NYBC also offers special community service scholarships for students who organize community blood drives during summer and winter months.  Blood donors receive free mini-medical exams on site including information about their temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin level.  Eligible donors include those people at least age 16 (with parental permission or consent), who weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, are in good health and meet all Food & Drug Administration and NY or NJ State Department of Health donor criteria.  People over 75 may donate with a doctor's note.

About New York Blood Center:  About New York Blood Center:  New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation's largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to hospitals since 1964, serving more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania.  NYBC is also home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the National Cord Blood Program at the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center, the world's largest public cord blood bank.  NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion, and Hemophilia Services) through our medical professionals along with consultative services in transfusion medicine. Please visit us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/newyorkbloodcenter.  Follow us on Twitter: @NYBloodCenter.

Contact:  Leslie Gonzalez

lgonzalez2@nybloodcenter.org

(718) 797-7804  Office

(646) 342-3038  Mobile



SOURCE New York Blood Center



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