CBC will honor a Sickle Cell patient by introducing him to his life-saving blood donors amid a blood emergency in the region    

 September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month which aims to raise awareness about the inherited blood disorder most common among African Americans

KANSAS CITY – Community Blood Center (CBC) will introduce local sickle cell patient and blood recipient, Kevin Wake, to 50 of the hundreds of blood donors who are helping to sustain his life. Kevin relies on blood transfusions to survive and over the years has received blood donated from hundreds of donors in the region. The event will take place during the critical local and national blood emergency on Tuesday, September 19th, and will be the largest donor/recipient meet and greet ever hosted in the region. The event will be invitation-only and open to the media only.

CBC has announced a blood emergency following a summer of low donor turnout. Contributing to the shortage are the recent Labor Day holiday, back-to-school activities, and a prolonged 50% decrease in youth and first-time donors.

The region’s blood supply is well below the optimal 5-7 days and while all blood types are needed, types O+, O-, B-, and platelets are critically low.  And Kansas and Missouri are not alone, blood shortages are happening across the country, with multiple centers urgently calling for blood donations. 

Kevin is the President of the Uriel E. Owens Sickle Cell Disease Association of the Midwest and is a stalwart advocate for sickle cell disease patients. He has lobbied for additional research surrounding the disease, and his testimony led to the passing of MO SB 710, which created Missouri’s Sickle Cell Awareness Week, and allocated more resources for sickle cell disease research.

“Because of my blood donors, I have been able to live a full life, and advocate for my fellow sickle cell disease warriors,” said Kevin Wake. “I look forward to highlighting the current Blood Emergency and saying thank you to each of my donors, who selflessly donated so that I can continue to fight for research into this often-neglected disease.”

WHAT:           Sickle Cell Patient and Blood Donor Meet and Greet

WHEN:          Tuesday, September 19 | 10 am – please arrive by 9:45 am

WHERE:        The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation & Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110

“Kevin has been an invaluable ally for Community Blood Center and an incredible advocate for his fellow Sickle Cell Warriors over the years,” said Patsy Shipley, Vice President at Community Blood Center. “We look forward to honoring Kevin for his tireless advocacy, and the blood donors who made these donations. In light of the Blood Emergency, we hope today inspires even more people to make a blood donation, and save a life like Kevin’s.”

Sickle cell disease patients rely on blood transfusions to stay healthy, often needing them every few weeks and requiring very closely matched blood products to avoid transfusion complications. These blood products can often only be found in donors with the same racial or ethnic heritage, making donations from people of color particularly important.

CBC’s National Center for Blood Group Genomics specializes in providing precisely matched blood products nationwide to those battling sickle cell disease and other hematological malignancies, anemias, autoimmune diseases, and transplantation. Additionally, CBC is a division of New York Blood Center Enterprises (NYBCe), an international leader in sickle cell disease research, focusing on preventing and treating complications associated with sickle cell disease, and searching for cures through stem cell transplantation and gene therapy.