Versiti Blood Center of Michigan raises awareness of sickle cell disease

Special blood drive Sept. 26 in Grand Rapids seeks diverse blood donations during National Sickle Cell Awareness Month

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Sept. 22, 2020 – September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month.

Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. For millions around the world, their red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool call a sickle. The cells commonly become stuck in small blood vessels and block the flow of blood and oxygen to organs in the body, causing severe pain, organ damage, serious infection and stroke.

In the U.S., more than 100,000 people live with sickle cell disease, which occurs in 1 in 365 African American births and 1 in 16,300 Hispanic-American births.

To help raise awareness of the disease and the need for a diversified blood supply across the U.S., Versiti Blood Centers are hosting special Sickle Cell Saturday blood drives in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana throughout September.

10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 26)
Baxter Community Center, 935 Baxter St. SE, Grand Rapids

Parking is free. All eligible donors will receive a Sickle Cell Awareness Month T-shirt and a $10 e-gift card as a token of appreciation. Versiti will also be testing all donations for COVID-19 antibodies.

Hosting the blood drive is a committee of individuals representing NAACP Grand Rapids, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and Spectrum Health.

To ensure everyone’s safety during continuing coronavirus concerns, Versiti employees wear face masks or cloth face coverings and are temperature tested before their shifts. Donors are also temperature tested and prescreened before their donation. All donors are asked to wear their own face covering during their appointment.

Social distancing is being practiced at all Versiti blood drives throughout Michigan. Versiti is efficiently cleaning and disinfecting all facilities and equipment at all drives.

Donating blood takes about an hour. Anyone age 17 or older in good health who meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to give. Parental consent is required for donors age 16 to give. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes their birth date.

Appointments are encouraged but walk-ins are welcome. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-866-642-5663 or visit Versiti online at

Versiti Blood Center of Michigan, formerly Michigan Blood, has collected blood throughout the state since 1955. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, the non-profit organization provides blood products and services to more than 80 Michigan hospitals, collects nearly 115,000 units of blood each year at eight donation centers and conducts more than 3,400 local community blood drives throughout the state.


Versiti Blood Center of Michigan is a non-profit blood center headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich. Founded in 1955, it is the primary provider of blood products and services for more than hospitals throughout Michigan and is an established leader in quality and service. Versiti collects more than 114,000 units of blood each year throughout the state at eight permanent donation sites and more than 3,400 community blood drives. For more, visit

Spectrum Health System, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,600 medical staff experts, 3,300 committed volunteers and a health plan serving 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 150 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $550 million in community benefit in calendar year 2019. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $37 million in philanthropy to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.

Beth Cranson
Media Relations
Office: 616.391.2603
Mobile: 616.540.0813