Philadelphia charter school holds sickle cell blood drive

PHILADELPHIA - January 14, 2014

It was an annual blood drive that brought together students, teachers and even parents on Tuesday to hopefully save lives.

"I think it's great that a lot of people are trying to help," said 9th grader Akira Bouie.

When 9th grader Akira Bouie heard about the sickle cell blood drive at Imhotep Charter School, she wanted to help in any way she could.

Bouie herself has sickle cell, and while she hasn't needed a blood transfusion yet, she knows how crucial these donations are.

"Kids with sickle cell aren't able to be in school a lot because of disease. It puts you through a lot of pain so you have to be in the hospital a lot," said Bouie. "This is helping so that you won't have to be in the hospital as much do you can get the transfusions."

This is the fourth annual drive for the West Oak lane school. A team from the American Red Cross set up in the gymnasium- these donations are tagged specifically for sickle cell. Although there is no cure, the hereditary blood disease can be managed by blood transfusions.

"In the African American community, we know that one in every 12 have sickle cell trait," said Deborah Toney Moore.

Parent coordinator Deborah Toney Moore who is the chairperson of the drive explains each year their list of willing donors grows.

"We see every day the impact it has on the need for blood, because they are often taking transfusions, and sometimes the blood is simply not there. So it is very personal for people here at Imhotep," said Moore.

Some admit they were a little anxious at first about the needles but say the need and the purpose for the donation outweighed any nerves.

"I'm a little nervous, but I'm still go through with it," said 12th grader Kwisji Womack.

"A lot of sickle cell patients have to sit through 8 hours of transfusions, and this happens every month or 8 weeks, so giving a pint is nothing. We might as well donate," said Morgan Richardson, Senior Organizer.

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