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Giving Blood Is Easier Than Getting A Tattoo
By Brian W. Carter, Staff Writer brian@lasentinel.net
Published March 3, 2016

Giving blood matters because it can save lives.

file photo

file photo

When it came time for Sabriya’s Castle of Fun Foundation (SCFF) president, Pamela Bakewell, to meet with local organizations about this year’s annual fun drive, she found hesitation. The fear of a needle made a few of the officials’ blood run cold yet some noted despite their fear of giving blood, they had tattoos. This led the group to an interesting revelation—if someone could sit through hours of a needle tearing through your skin, then someone could sit through giving blood, which is far less painful.

On March 12, SCFF annual blood drive is asking the community to come out and donate blood to a worthy cause—saving life. Giving blood does matter, it matters greatly to those who are in desperate need of it, some need it every day depending on their condition.

SCFF was created in honor of Aline and Danny Bakewell Sr.’s daughter, Sabriya Bakewell, who passed away from leukemia at the age of 17. SCFF was created to be a “Fun Therapy” and supportive service to children with leukemia, sickle cell disease and other chronic blood diseases since 1992.

Blood transfusions are necessary for many afflicted with diseases like sickle cell disease, dialysis patients and in surgery. SCFF considers blood donation a high priority because of the need especially for African Americans and other people of color.  There are certain blood types, which carry specific antigens that are only found in people of African descent or non-African descent.

Patients with sickle cell disease require frequent blood transfusions and 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.  SCF makes it a priority to get people to donate blood because of the need.

Most people avoid giving blood due to fear of needles or may have 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 L.A. makes sure your experience is comfortable. What many don’t know is that there are many health benefits to donating blood.

According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, blood donors are 88% less likely to suffer a heart attack. The second benefit is you get a mini checkup—a quick physical that measures your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and hemoglobin levels. The blood is then tested checking for 13 different tests for infectious diseases, like HIV and West Nile virus. If anything comes back positive, you’ll be notified immediately.  The third benefit is after you donate a unit of blood, you lose a quarter of a gram of iron, which gets replenished from the food you eat in the weeks after. This regulation of iron levels is a good thing, because having too much iron could be bad news for your blood vessels. The last benefit comes from a study from Health Psychology which shows that people who volunteered for altruistic reasons had a significantly reduced risk of mortality four years later than those who volunteered for themselves alone.

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 but you must provide valid photo id, weigh more than 110 pound and be well hydrated.

“We ask our community to support this worthy cause,” said Pamela Bakewell, President of Sabriya’s Castle of Fun. “We are proud to host this event with Children’s Hospital LA but we cannot have a successful event with DONORS.

“If you sign up, you will be given priority that day to donate.  The children need you…..we need you…. I look forward to seeing you there.”

Join Sabriya’s Castle of Fun Foundation (SCFF) Saturday, March 12, from 10am-3pm at the Los Angeles Sentinel located at 3800 S. Crenshaw Blvd. in Los Angeles. Sabriya’s Castle of Fun Foundation is in partnership with Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Crenshaw Chamber of Commerce, Mothers in Action, L.A., L.A. Urban League Young Professionals, The Brotherhood Crusade, L.A. Commission on the Status of Women,  Bank of America, Misty Melony Sickle Cell Disease Foundation, Life Beyond Church, 729 Beauty Radio Free KJLH and Kappa Alpha Psi.

Sign up to volunteer the day of the event by clicking this link:  http://www.sabriyascastle.org/blood-drives.html.

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