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19 June 2020

World Sickle Cell Day 2020


At the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service we’d like to raise awareness of World Sickle Cell Day today and take the time to say thank you to our blood donors.

Your donations can be used to treat patients with sickle cell disorder across Scotland. We would also like to thank all our colleagues who are involved in the journey, from those who collect these vital blood donations through to our hospital clinical apheresis units who regularly transfuse sickle cell patients.

Image of disc shaped normal red blood cell alongside sickle shaped cell
Disc shaped normal red blood cells change into sickle shaped cells. These can clot together inside small blood vessels causing pain for those with sickle cell disorder.

Did you know?

  • Sickle cell disorder is inherited from both parents; sickle cell trait is inherited from one parent.
  • Sickle cell disorder can affect anyone, although it predominantly affects people from African and Caribbean backgrounds.
  • 1 in 76 babies born in the UK carry sickle cell trait.
  • Approximately 15,000 people in the UK have sickle cell disorder.
  • Approximately 270 babies with sickle cell disorder are born in the UK every year.
  • A simple blood test will tell whether you have sickle cell trait or the disorder
  • Children with sickle cell disorder are at increased risk for stroke, the risk is highest between the ages of 2 and 16.
  • Episodes of pain may occur in sickle cell disorder and are generally referred to as a crisis
  • People living with sickle cell disorder are in the extremely vulnerable group and have to shield during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic

The only possible cure for the disorder is bone marrow transplant but this is only possible for a limited number of affected individuals who have a suitable donor. A medicine called Hydroxyurea, can significantly reduce the number of painful crises.


Last Christmas we welcomed Beth Lwanda and her daughter Evelyn to the Glasgow Donor Centre to raise awareness of how your blood donations can be used to help. Beth told us how monthly blood transfusions help her to manage her condition, be a mother to Evelyn and live a normal life.

Current blood stock levels across Scotland Tuesday 27 February

We aim to retain 6 days of stocks at any time in order to meet the requirements of patients in Scotland.

Learn more about blood types