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Nashville officer with sickle cell trait co-hosting a blood drive to increase number of Black blood donors

Most people with the trait or disease are African American
Lt. Bonita Blue De Vault
Posted at 4:34 PM, Sep 05, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Metro Nashville Police Department officer is co-hosting a blood drive with the American Red Cross.

Lt. Bonita Blue De Vault carries the sickle cell trait. When she discovered last year that the American Red Cross now can accept blood from people with the trait, she started to plan her own event.

"How best can you help someone in need when you can't give them comfort if they're having a crisis... you can't give them money because that does not take away the pain? Only thing you can give them is your blood," said De Vault.

Lt. Blue De Vault is co-hosting the blood drive on Sept. 6 at the North Police Precinct to help the Red Cross increase blood donations from Black blood donors, which will help sickle cell patients. Blood donors will also have their blood tested for the sickle cell trait.

The sickle cell disease is most common in Black Americans. The blood disease occurs among about 1 out of every 365 Black or African-American births, according to the CDC. About 1 in 13 Black or African-American babies is born with the sickle cell trait.

Sickle cell disease can require dozens of blood transfusions a year. Blood from a donor of a similar ethnic background is less likely to be rejected by the patient.

"We've been so disconnected and now it's time for us to reconnect, and with the Red Cross you are connecting with people around the United States, not just Nashville. The call for blood can happen anywhere, anywhere," she said.

The blood drive is from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Community Room at the Metro Nashville North Precinct at 2231 26th Ave. North.

To schedule an appointment, visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter sponsor code: 'battleofthebadges'.

In two days, you can give blood at Nissan Stadium. Community members who give blood can then vote for their favorite first responder agency. After the votes are tallied, a plaque will be presented to the winning agency. Donors will get a free t-shirt as well.

Nationwide, the American Red Cross is experiencing a 20% drop in donations all blood types.