Volunteer Profile: E-Rick Harrington donates blood to sickle cell patients

Vietnam veteran E-Rich Harrington proudly shows off the 10 Red Cross pins he wears on his vest. Each pin represents one gallon of blood he’s donated. Mr. Harrington has distinct protein structures on his red blood cells that make his donation the most compatible blood to help patients with sickle cell disease.

E-Rich Harrington proudly displaying his 10 Red Cross pins representing the pints of blood he’s donated. Credit: Red Cross.

It’s estimated that 100,000 people in the United States, the majority of whom are of African descent, have sickle cell disease and may require blood transfusions throughout their lifetime to help manage their disease. Blood donations from individuals of the same race or similar ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients experiencing a sickle cell crisis.

Mr. Harrington knows this and is a dedicated blood donor because of it. “I’ve been donating since ’72 when I got out of the service to send back for the Vietnam vets,” Harrington said. “Now I donate blood for the Sickle Cell Kids, they told me that my blood has properties in it that help Sickle Cell Anemia Kids so that just make me want to do it {donate} even more.”

E-Rich Harrington making a blood donation to the Red Cross to help those diagnosed with sickle cell disease, particularly children.
Credit: Red Cross

Mr. Harrington encourages other African-Americans to make much-needed blood donations. Blood donations from members of the Black community help support patients with sickle cell by providing closely matched donations of the same blood type, race, or similar ethnicity to reduce transfusion complications.

To schedule your blood donation appointment, go to RedCrossBlood.org, use the Blood Donor App or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

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