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Hema-Quebec and Black History Month team up for blood drive to help communities


Fifteen years ago, Hema-Quebec teamed up with the Black History Month Round Table to organize a blood drive in support of sickle cell anemia and highlight Black communities' contribution to the province's blood supply.

On Saturday, the two organizations are hosting a blood drive by appointment at the Centre d'education des Adultes (CEDA) at 2515 Delise Street in Montreal's Little Burgundy neighbourhood. Those interested can book an appointment on the Hema-Quebec website and if they can't make a donation then, there are other dates and locations on the site.

Hema-Quebec says it takes 130 matched donors each year to treat a single adult person with sickle cell anemia, an inherited blood disorder that affects the shape of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to other parts of the body.

Red blood cells are typically round and can move easily through blood vessels. In sickle cell anemia, they are shaped like sickles or crescent moons and become rigid and sticky, slowing down the flow.

"To increase transfusion efficiency, if the donor and recipient share the same genetic makeup," Hema-Quebec says. "It's the reason why Black donors are vital to the community."

One in 10 Black persons carry the gene for sickle cell anemia, Hema-Quebec says.

"The only treatment is to do a blood exchange," said Hema-Quebec spokesperson Josée Larivée. "Depending on how many crises one patient may have, you may have to have blood exchanges a few times per year."

Larivée said 200 patients in Quebec suffer from sickle cell anemia.

Hema-Quebec says that just 3 per cent of the population donates blood. Larivée said more people need to talk about the benefits of giving blood.

"A lot of people are still afraid, unfortunately, to give blood," she said. "There's a lot to talk about. If you are a blood donor, bring the conversation to your friends." Top Stories

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