A local teenager is in desperate need of blood donations and the Red Cross is reaching out to the community on her behalf.

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According to WNYT, Anne Singiza is a 15-year old girl from Albany who is living with sickle cell disease.  Anne is a high school student who loves school and her favorite subject is math.  In the future, Anne hopes to become a doctor and if she doesn’t become a doctor, she wants to establish a career in fashion.

So far this makes Anne sound like a typical teenager, but her health issues make her life anything but average.  Each month Anne needs to have a blood transfusion to keep her body healthy and strong.  Without the monthly transfusions, Anne’s life would be filled with illness and pain.  Most people in the Black community have heard of sickle cell disease, but let’s just take a moment to look at what the disease really is.

Sickle cell is a hereditary disease and it is most prevalent in Black people.  To be born with sickle cell disease, both of their biological parents must be carriers of the sickle cell trait.  

Healthy red blood cells are smooth, round, and bendable to easily flow through blood vessels.  Red blood cells with someone with sickle cell disease are shaped like a sickle or crescent.  The cells become stiff and sticky and have difficulty traveling through blood vessels.  The sticky cells pile up in the blood vessels preventing organs from getting enough oxygen, causing the patient to experience pain.

Throughout the pandemic, The Red Cross has been experiencing blood shortages.  Patients like young Anne Singiza depend on blood donations to receive the life-saving blood transfusions they need.

For more information on how you can help Anne Singza, and other people who depend on blood transfusions, go to the Red Cross’ website at redcross.org

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