Blood Needed

20-year-old Mitchell Breland is now living in Texas, he's a native of Newton and in dire need of blood donations. Breland, like his Aunt Mattie, has sickle cell anemia. It's a blood disorder that affects many African Americans.

"It's more like a toothache with arthritis in your joints, your mouth, your toes, anywhere you have a joint, you can ache," says Mattie Johnson, a sickle cell anemia patient.

At age 33, because of sickle cell anemia, Mattie now has to be hospitalized anywhere from two to three times a month.

"When you get the blood it kind of helps the blood start functioning properly in the body, which eases the pain."

Officials with United Blood Services say the problem is that all too often there is not enough blood available to meet the growing needs.

"n Mississippi and West Alabama we service 67 hospitals and we need 250 donors daily. Out of that we see a lower percentage of African Americans donating and with our African American population, their blood has certain antibodies that other demographics do not have, says Katie Swinney with United Blood Services.

This is something that makes a major difference when it comes to blood transfusions for sickle cell patients.

"As Mattie pointed out, blood for her is life and blood for our patients is life."

That blood drive for Mitchell Breland will be Tuesday, June 1st from noon until 6p.m. It will take place in front of the Wal-Mart in Newton. Mitchell was hospitalized in texas last week, just days after his 20th birthday.

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