August 21, 2014
By Brian W. Carter
LAWT Staff Writer
Blood donation is so important and vital to many lives being saved. It can mean the difference between life and death for many youth. Sabriya's Castle of Fun Foundation (SCFF) will be having a blood drive on Sept. 27 from 10am-3pm at the Los Angeles Sentinel. The annual event was named in honor of Danny Bakewell, Sr.'s daughter, Sabriya Bakewell, who passed away of leukemia at the age of 17. The blood drive is an annual event that honors and celebrates Sabriya's life and all the children, who have lost or are fighting the battle to cancer and other chronic blood diseases.
SCFF encourages blood donation especially with a high need within Black community. There are certain blood types, which carry specific antigens that are only found in people of African descent or non-African descent. Because of the lack of Black blood donors, the need is specifically high for Black children, who are struggling with certain blood-related disorders such as sickle cell anemia.
“You do not have to be African American to match an African American donor,” said Pamela Bakewell President of SCFF and EVP/COO of the Bakewell Co and the LA Sentinel . “We’re asking people of color to come out because sometimes we do have rare blood—especially for sickle cell patients.”
The American Red Cross states the importance about donating blood for sickle cell patients:
“Because of the need for regular transfusions over a patient’s lifetime, it is critically important that blood transfused to Sickle Cell patients be as closely matched as possible. If the blood is not closely matched, the patient may build antibodies against the donated blood, and the transfusions will be ineffective in treating the symptoms of the disease. Like other genetic factors, blood is similar among people of the same ethnic group, that is why the closest match for a Sickle Cell patient will most likely come from an African American donor.”
Patients with Sickle cell disease have different requirements with blood donors that do not have C, E, and K red cell proteins. If a donor does not have these proteins on their red blood cells, their blood is reserved for transfusions for patients with sickle cell disease. Fifty-five percent of African Americans are CEK-negative, compared to less than 1% of the general population.
“With all of those things we know, without us coming together as a community to support it, it’s not going to lead to these kids having successful treatments,” said Bakewell.
There are three blood types: A, B or O. However, those of African descent carry an antigen within their blood that is critical to helping others of African descent in recovery when blood transfusions are necessary. Most people avoid giving blood due to fear of needles or having the wrong information. If you are a first-time donor, after the initial pinch of the needle, the process is over. The few minutes spent giving blood is helping those in need and Children’s Hospital LA makes sure your experience is comfortable.
You can show your support by putting out the word to your friends and family to donate blood. There is a serious shortage of blood for children of color, so join the effort to help our children. If you are 17 or older, then you can donate!
Blood Centers of the Pacific shares about donating blood:
“Donating blood is safe, simple and it saves lives. Donated blood is precious. And there’s no substitute for it. The entire process takes less than an hour and is virtually painless. At your blood donation, you’ll also be given a “mini-physical,” where we take your temperature, your blood pressure and test your iron. That way, we ensure giving is safe for you. After your donation, your blood is tested, typed and sent to a patient in need.”
Bakewell and Sabriya’s Castle would like to thank the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California (RMHCSC), who will be sponsoring the blood drive this year. RMHCSC is committed to improving the lives of children suffering from life threatening blood disorders.
“I want to thank RMHCSC for continuing to support Sabriya’s Castle of Fun in its mission to bring fun, joy and happiness to the children and their families while going through this difficult time in their lives,” said Bakewell.
“Please donate blood and save a life.”
Come out on Sept. 27 from 10am-3pm at the Los Angeles Sentinel in front of the Los Angeles Sentinel at 3800 S. Crenshaw Blvd., in partnership with Children’s Hospital to help save a life. You can RSVP at www.sabriyascastle.com or call (323) 291-0009.
For more information on donating blood and sickle cell disease, please visit www.redcrossblood.org and www.bloodcenters.org.