LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) - To the unwitting observer, Malik White would appear to be an ordinary 13-year-old. But Covenant Keepers Charter School is well aware of the challenges he’s faced since being diagnosed with sickle cell disease at 8 months old. That’s why the school is partnering with the American Red Cross to host a blood drive in his honor.
Sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder, causes red blood cells to be abnormally shaped. It can lead to chronic pain, anemia, tissue damage and even strokes. Many patients, including White, require blood transfusions to help manage the condition.
“Malik takes multiple medications every day,” said his mother, Teronica Snell. “He’s been in and out of the hospital most of his life, had multiple blood transfusions and faced death more than once. It hasn’t been an easy road for him.”
Despite the challenges, Snell said White has been able to hang on to his sense of humor and go-getter attitude. While he will continue to face obstacles due to this disease, White has dreams of becoming an architect, starting his own family and traveling around the world.
“Malik’s education has been impacted by all of these health challenges,” Snell said. “We are so grateful to all those at Covenant Keepers Charter School for their support and understanding. We appreciate everyone who has been part of his care during these difficult times.”
Give blood in honor of Malik White:
- Wednesday, May 21 from noon to 4 p.m. at Covenant Keepers Charter School, 5615 Geyer Springs Road in Little Rock, Ark.
To schedule a donation appointment, please call Keyonna Surratt at (501) 682-7585. Appointments can also be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Patients like Malik may need blood throughout their lives,” said Scott Caswell, CEO of the Red Cross Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Blood Services Region. “They are living proof that the need is real and constant. The Red Cross relies on volunteer blood donors to be there to provide those lifesaving donations.”
White’s experiences highlight the need for diversity in the blood supply. Most people with sickle cell disease are of African descent, but many are of Indian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, Mediterranean and other descents. Because recipients are less likely to have complications from blood donated by someone with the same ethnicity, a diverse supply is important.
How to donate blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in Arkansas), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
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