The American Red Cross is encouraging residents to donate the gift of life in honor of another West Hartford resident, six-year-old sickle cell patient Amarey Brookshire.
Submitted by Stefanie Arcangelo, American Red Cross
Amarey Brookshire of West Hartford, CT, is an active six-year-old who loves to read, travel and play baseball, but without generous donations from volunteer blood donors, Amarey wouldn’t have the strength to do any of these things because she has sickle cell disease.
To help kick off National Sickle Cell Awareness Month this September, Amarey’s family will host an American Red Cross blood drive on Sunday, Sept. 6 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Farmington Blood Donation Center, 209 Farmington Ave., Farmington.
Amarey was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at birth. Earlier this year, her condition worsened and she needed regular blood transfusions every four weeks. Fortunately, her condition has improved, but Amarey will still need blood transfusions moving forward.
Since her diagnosis, Amarey has received more than 20 blood transfusions due to her not being able to produce normal red bloods cells and low hemoglobin levels.
Sickle cell disease is an inherited disease that causes red blood cells to form an abnormal crescent shape. It is estimated that sickle cell disease affects as many as 100,000 people in the U.S. Many of these patients face a lifetime of blood transfusions to help reduce the risk of stroke, damage to major organs and other complications that can arise as a result of sickle cell disease.
“There is currently no cure for sickle cell disease, but blood transfusions help Amarey’s hemoglobin rise which allows her to bounce back and resume her normal life,” said Amarilis Brookshire, Amarey’s mother. “We are so grateful to people who come out to donate blood and ask people who are eligible to give blood to help others like my daughter.”
All those who present to donate blood at this drive will receive a Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.*
To make an appointment to donate, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.