SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month and a local organization is hosting a blood drive to support those that suffer from sickle cell anemia.

The Sickle Cell Association of Savannah, Incorporated will hold their 360 For Sickle Cell Blood Drive in partnership with The Blood Connection on Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kindgom Life Christian Fellowship Church located at 425 Montgomery Cross Road, Savannah, GA 31406.

Children and adults with sickle cell anemia have sickled-shaped red blood cells that cannot travel smoothly through the blood vessels. The red blood cells become trapped and will cause severe pain crises, stroke, chest syndrome, stroke, organ damage, and it can be fatal.

“As you donate, know that you are doing it for a worthy cause, and it is helping our community to thrive and be in a position to save lives. Our motto is 360 for Sickle Cell because your blood donation will turn lives for the better,” said Angela Sheppard, president of Sickle Cell Association of Savannah.

Angela’s son, Justin, is a member of the WSAV production team. He was one of the first people in the nation to be cured of the disease. He encourages anyone who can, to donate blood.

“Because when I was born, I was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, and in 2005, I was cured through a bone marrow transplant, and it just gives an opportunity for everybody in the community to come together you know and donate blood and give to those children who are in my position because it gives them a chance of a new life,” Justin said.

These persons need regular blood transfusions to temporarily replace their sickled red blood cells with healthy, round red blood cells that can travel through the blood vessels to carry oxygen to other cells, tissues, and organs for a healthier quality of life.

A blood donation can help save the lives of 3 persons in critical need of a blood transfusion.

“Blood can’t be made in a lab, it can’t be replicated, or created if we don’t have enough, it has to be donated,” said Katie Smithson, press and media coordinator for The Blood Connection.

All blood donors will receive a $10 eGift card and a $10 charitable donation will be made per donor.

For additional details about the blood drive scan the QR code located on the flyer below or call Mrs. Angela Sheppard at 912-695-9733.