Blood drive for sickle cell disease at Newbo City Market

September is Sickle Cell Awareness month. KCRG-TV9's Mollie Swayne spoke to those putting a spotlight on this disease.
Published: Sep. 18, 2022 at 12:22 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. On Saturday, a group outside Newbo City Market did their part by putting the focus on the disease.

Shy Rush was one of those at the event. She has lost two of her cousins to sickle cell.

“I have seen how the disease can affect somebody up close and personal, so that’s where the passion comes from,” Rush said.

“Watching them in pain was pretty, pretty terrible when they got to that point,” Rush said.

Beleta Butts has two daughters and a nephew with the disease. Sickle cell significantly affected her children from a young age.

“So for my girls it started—Beleta, age three with pneumonia. Bobbi started a little later with strokes,” Butts said.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute said that sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S. It affects about 100,000 people in the country. Patients with sickle cell may receive one or more blood transfusions.

“When they go and get that blood transfusion, it pushes out those sickle cells, and it gives them a better quality of life,” Rush said. “So you will see them as normal after they’ve gotten a blood transfusion.”

Part of Saturday’s event was a blood drive with ImpactLife.

In addition to collecting blood donations, the event also was an educational opportunity for people to learn about the status of their own health. Volunteers provided free assessments that looked at blood pressure and body mass index. People could also learn their blood type.

While the topic was a serious one, the group outside Newbo City Market also wanted to send a message of support and empowerment.

“We’re just going to sing, we’re going to celebrate, and we’re going to celebrate the life and the times that we do have,” Butts said.