10 blood drives across North Texas aim to lessen summer blood shortage, particularly for patients with sickle cell disease

Dallas, TX – Ten Medical City Healthcare hospitals are hosting June blood drives in partnership with the American Red Cross North Texas Region to pre-emptively offset annual summer blood shortages while also providing benefit to patients with sickle cell disease, like Shayna Criss.

Criss was diagnosed with sickle cell disease as an infant. The disease has caused periodic episodes of extreme pain and severe anemia. At 46, Criss has received 52 blood transfusions, so far. In January, she required three blood transfusions at Medical City Lewisville—using blood products that were challenging to procure since there were no compatible blood donors.

“We are proud to partner with the Red Cross to help address our community’s blood shortage and bring greater awareness to the need for a diverse blood supply,” says Erol Akdamar, FACHE, president of Medical City Healthcare.

“I think it’s amazing. There’s not a lot of information about sickle cell and the importance of blood for a sickle cell crisis,” says Criss about the blood drive. “You want to be able to depend on your neighborhood hospital to help you get better.”

The Red Cross has launched a national initiative to reach more blood donors to help patients with sickle cell disease and improve health outcomes. In the U.S., more than 100,000 people have sickle cell disease and may require regular blood transfusions throughout their lifetime to help manage pain and long-term health. Blood donations from individuals of the same race or similar ethnicity and blood type are the most effective way to help patients experiencing a sickle cell crisis, the majority of whom are of African or African American descent.

“As an organization dedicated to alleviating suffering, the Red Cross is committed to the health and well-being of all communities, and a diverse blood supply is critical to improving health outcomes for all patients—especially those with sickle cell disease,” says Gail McGovern, CEO and president of the Red Cross. “For someone facing a sickle cell crisis, a blood transfusion can make a lifesaving difference.”

Anyone interested in donating blood can sign up here for Red Cross blood drives held at the following locations and times:

All donors over the age of 16 are welcome and encouraged to donate blood, especially blood donors of African or African American descent who are needed to help provide the most compatible blood match for patients with sickle cell disease. Visit RedCrossBlood.org/Eligibility for specific donor eligibility requirements.