Senator BeltEAST ST. LOUIS – As the country faces a critical shortage of blood donations, State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) asks African Americans to donate blood to aid patients with sickle cell disease.

“Donating blood could save someone’s life, which is why I am using my platform to bring awareness to this donation shortage,” Belt said. “African Americans are primarily affected by sickle cell disease, so it is of utmost importance that African Americans donate blood that can be used by sickle cell patients for transfusions.”

African American blood donors play an important role in the treatment of sickle cell disease. Patients with the disease depend on transfusions from donors with closely matched blood—beyond just blood type—to reduce the risk of complications.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Red Cross says donations by African Americans have dropped by more than half. As sickle cell patients are at high risk of severe complications from COVID-19 infection, donations are especially important at this time.

The Red Cross assures donors that each donation center must follow the highest standards of safety and infection control. Additional precautions, including social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff, have been implemented to ensure the health of everyone in attendance.

Many blood centers throughout the state have extended their operating hours to meet the critical need for donations.

To make an appointment to donate blood with the Red Cross, residents can visit or call 800-733-2767.