Sorority alumni hold blood drive in honor of member living with sickle cell disease

Chi Eta Phi
Posted at 6:03 PM, Mar 16, 2023

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — A group with members all over the country said they've long faced a certain challenge. It's a challenge that's especially personal. They're taking it on by leading by example.

Custom shirts and jackets were being made on machines Thursday, pulling from spools of green and yellow. It's the colors of a tradition.

"It's the Chi Eta Phi Nursing Sorority!" said a woman, donning her yellow and green.

"Chi Eta Phi is a sorority of nursing professionals," added another.

"Chi Eta Phi Sorority Inc. was founded in 1932 by twelve courageous Black nurses," said sorority national president Sarah Killian. "It was founded to serve the Black community."

"It's our sisterhood," added southeast regional director Juanita Gibbons-Delaney.

The nurses were at Franklin Marriott Cool Springs for their southeast regional conference.

"Our main goal is to make sure we are of service," a nurse said.

"We work together to make humanity better!" chimed in another.

As part of that, they're encouraging the Black community to donate blood to help those with sickle cell disease.

"In the African American community, there's typically a low turnout," said Gibbons-Delaney.

"The majority of the people with sickle cell disease are African Americans," added Killian.

In fact, sorority member Capri Reece of North Carolina is living with sickle cell disease. In tribute to Reece, the sorority was taking action Thursday. During the conference, they were giving blood.

"Giving blood has the opportunity to save lives," said a nurse giving blood.

Scarlett James of the American Red Cross said there's a lot of help that comes from sickle cell fighter drives like this.

"When it comes to certain blood diseases such as sickle cell, we have to have ethnically matched blood," James explained.

"I'm appealing to those in the community who look like me to also donate blood to the American Red Cross, so we can help more people with sickle cell disease," said Killian.

For more on the Red Cross's sickle cell initiative, visit here.

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