Monday, March 30, 2015

Real Talk!

A girl like me needs blood every now and then, not just any kind of blood; I need donated blood!  It’s not because I did anything to cause myself to need blood I just happened to be born with sickle cell disease.  One of the only successful therapies for people living with sickle cell disease is blood transfusion or a blood exchange to help sicklers live a better quality of life, as well as a longer life!


Most normal red blood cells found in someone without SCD have red blood cells that last 120 days and work as a vehicle taking oxygen throughout the body; to the organs, tissue, bones, and brain.  It also has the job of picking up carbon dioxide and other bad gases to remove them from the body.  So think of blood as a vehicle with red blood cells sitting on the front and back seats being dropped off at different points throughout the body.  While dropping off the blood the gases are being thrown into the trunk to take it away from the body and discard.  Well those living with SCD  have red blood cells that last in the body for only 14 days therefore, the body is not getting the oxygen needed that is found in blood.  The vehicle in the body of someone living with SCD, the red blood cells, can be thought of as an old raggedy lemon of a car that will break down at any time.  So the blood does not get to all of the parts of the body and where there is no oxygen, there is death.  So, for a better quality of life and a longer life it is imperative that those living with SCD like me receive blood donated from people who are gracious enough to share their blood with people like me!

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a Girl like me needs blood every now and then; your blood!  When living with SCD, it is common to get blood transfusions and exchanges on a regular basis!  However, the best blood for an African American is the blood donated by another African Americans.  This holds true because genetically it is best to receive blood from someone whose genes align with one another.  This helps to prevent rejection and adverse reaction from a blood transfusion or exchange.  Unfortunately, only 37% of the population is eligible to donate blood, 10% actually donate and of that 10%, less than 1% are African Americans.


Blood is not only needed by those living with SCD but anybody!  Statistics say 1 in 7 people who go to the hospital for help will need blood.  Every 2-4 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.  More than 41,000 people need blood every day.  Without oxygen rich blood, the body does not get the oxygen that’s needed to survive.  And that is with any living thing, oxygen is needed. 


I am so grateful for the gracious people during my lifetime who have given a piece of themselves so I can live a longer life and have a better quality of life.  You may only know and see me as a pretty face, made up with makeup, and I love jewelry, clothes & shoes; but my appearance is about the only thing I can control in this life! When I awake each morning I count it as another blessing to do something for somebody else, the way others have given to me.  You see I was born with Sickle Cell Disease, not because I did anything, my parents had no clue in the 70's that they both had the trait that caused me to live with this awful disease.  SCD feels like a war is going on inside my body and I can't stop it!  So here I am, in pain most every day of my life, asking you who may be reading this to donate blood or donate funds....You can make a difference and you have the opportunity to save a life if only you would donate from the heart.  Help me and organizations like First United Community Foundation, the Alabama NAACP Conference, and Summit Media get 50,000 African Americans donate blood by December 31, 2015.  This campaign comes as a result of the 50 year anniversary of “Bloody Sunday”.  So many bled, were beaten, and even died for the rights we often take for granted these days but I want to encourage you to give blood every 60 days if you can starting April 18, 2015 at the kick-off event for the campaign “Arts For Life Festival” in Avondale Park from 10am-6pm.  For more information visit, Arts For Life page on Facebook, and Operation Push For Blood page on Facebook. Donate any amount by going to

By Tina Kay, NAACP Health Coordinator for Alabama

Friday, March 27, 2015

Donate Blood

Operation Push For Blood was created by Tina Kay because she was born with an inherited blood disorder (sickle cell disease) that has no cure and she needs blood often.  After needing blood and there was none available for 4 days she decided to make this one of her platforms, blood donation.   Many people don't realize that genetically it’s best that people who belong to the same ethnic group donate blood to one another to help decrease the number of complications that could possibly com along with using blood from another ethnic group.  In layman’s terms, it is best to receive blood from someone in your race (because more times than not there is a genetic match).  With blood transfusions and blood exchanges being common therapies for people like Tina Kay living with SCD, more African American blood donors are needed!  Tina Kay works closely with Life South Community Blood Centers who provide Alabama with approximately 95% of the blood in Alabama, because their specialty is blood and nothing else.  She's an amazing person according to Life South check it out

Tina has teamed up with First United Community Foundation (501c3), the NAACP (Alabama Conference) & Summit Media Group to get 50,000 African Americans to donate blood by December 31, 2015.  This campaign is in remembrance of our forefathers who shed blood and died for our rights during 'Bloody Sunday', so we are asking today’s generation to donate blood to save the lives of those who look like you.  However, if you cannot donate blood you can donate funds to help the blood donation campaign to help us reach the goal of 50,000 African Americans donating blood by the end of this year, however, donating both ways would be ideal!  Are you interested in entering your organization into the kick off festival to compete against other adult (civic, social, and professional) organizations?  All you have to do is email to enter your organization.  We as a people need to become blood donors for the remainder of your life, so that you can save many lives!

It is sad but true that the percentage of blood donated by black people is not filling the need, meaning more black people need to donate blood.  So, Tina Kay created a movement to educate, engage, and encourage blood donation in her community.  Most times Tina will use her own money to host blood drives in the form of competitions, challenges, festivals, events, and town hall forums to help increase the amount of donated blood.  She works with schools, churches, non-profits, organizations, and events to set up blood drives.  She really needs your help!  Studies have found that 37% of the population can donate blood but only 10% donate and less than 1% of that 10% are African Americans, if you are reading this and you do not donate blood on a regular basis now is your chance to make a difference by donating a kind contribution by visiting (Donate Blood or Donate Funds!)

Did you know every 2 seconds someone in the US needs blood, 1in 7 people who are admitted into the hospital will need blood, 1 blood donation can save the lives of 3 people, if someone started giving blood at the age of 17 years old until they were 76 years old, thousands of lives would be saved, and 4.5 million people will need blood every year.  In order to save lives and provide a better quality of life for others needing blood we need your generous monetary donation!  You never know, it could be your child or you in need of blood one day!

The kick off competitive festival for this campaign will begin Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 10am-6pm in Avondale Park (Birmingham, AL) see, Operation Push For Blood on Facebook, or Arts For Life Festival also on Facebook.  If you would like to enter your group or high school into the kick off festival (blood donation) competition or if you would like to host a blood drive please email
By Tina Kay