People with sickle cell disease say blood donations crucial for treatment, survival

CHICAGO (WLS) -- People living with Sickle Cell Anemia say often that only blood transfusions can provide some relief from the excruciating pain. That's why donors are so important; because they're helping young women like Lyric Porter live a better life.

"Pretty much for as long as I can remember, I've had issues with my sickle cell disease," Porter said.

According to the CDC, one out of every 500 Black Americans is affected by Sickle Cell Anemia.

"It's pretty often that I do wake up in some sort of pain. Whether it be my legs or my knees," said Porter.

The disease can be crippling. Sickled hemoglobin cells can cause severe pain, potential organ damage and in some cases death. But blood donations can equal relief for many patients.

"If I didn't get the blood transfusions and it was a situation where I really did need blood, there's a good chance I would die," Porter explained.

Porter conquered college while battling sickle cell, accomplishing some of her wildest dreams.

"I was able to go away to Florida A&M University and get my bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism," she said. "I was able to pledge Alpha Kappa Alpha. Sorority, Incorporated, I was able to be a spokesperson for sickle cell disease."

But, not every day was easy, and Porter said she wouldn't have made it without support.

"I gained so many relatives, even from my professors that used to go to the emergency room with me, sit there with me all night and then wake up the next day and see me in class," she said.

Now, she's encouraging more people to donate blood while serving as a role model to others.

"I hope that I am inspiring other little girls and little boys who have sickle cell disease and still wanna do great things," Porter said.

If you'd like to donate blood, click here for more information on the Great Chicago Blood Drive and links to sign up to give.
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