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The Village of Park Forest is partnering with the American Red Cross for a community blood drive.
The blood drive will occur at Village Hall, 350 Victory Dr., on Thursday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Assistant Director of the Recreation, Parks and Community Health Department Margaret Lewis says it is vital that people of all backgrounds, especially African Americans, participate in fighting against sickle cell disease.
"Sickle cell trait is an inherited blood disorder that affects 1 million to 3 million Americans and 8 to 10 percent of African Americans," Lewis said. "Sickle cell trait can also affect Hispanics, South Asians, Caucasians from southern Europe, and people from Middle Eastern countries."
Sickle Cell Disease, or SCD, is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Healthy red blood cells are round and move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all body parts. In someone with SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a "sickle".
Lewis says those with SCD impacts often need blood transfusions and reiterated the importance of residents coming out to support next week at the blood drive.
"I have about 20 slots still open," Lewis said. "People can call me at 708-283-5663 to make an appointment."
Additionally, there's a blood shortage happening across the nation. In September, the American Red Cross declared a national blood shortage and cited a critically low blood supply level that had dropped nearly 25% since early August.
Lewis says that with the blood shortage and the impacts of SCD, she's calling on residents to donate blood next Thursday.