Pictured is Valaria Fenderson, who is in need of a bone marrow transplant in order to live live a long and purposeful life.
Sabriya's Castle of Fun Foundation annual blood drive set for Saturday March 15
Giving blood is a life-saving commitment—literally. It can mean the difference between life and death for many youth. Sabriya's Castle of Fun Foundation (SCFF) was named in honor of Danny Bakewell Sr's daughter, Sabriya Bakewell, who passed away of leukemia at the age of 17. The blood drive is an annual event that honors and celebrates Sabriya's life and all the children, who have lost the battle to cancer and other chronic blood diseases.
“Sabriya’s Birthday is on March 13,” said Pamela Bakewell President of SCFF and EVP/COO of the Bakewell Co and the LA Sentinel. “This is a birthday celebration of her life,” says Pamela.
“We want people to come out and donate blood. We know, as a family, how challenging it was to give blood and find people with blood that matched Sabriya. During Sabriya’s illness of only 2 months (diagnosed Feb 6 and succumbed on April 28), we needed lots of blood donations and also needed to find a bone marrow match. Although our efforts for Sabriya did not end successfully, you will have the opportunity to save a life on Saturday, March 15, by donating blood and also to sign up for bone marrow donations through ‘Be the Match’, a nationwide bone marrow registry.”
Bakewell continues, “Valeria Fenderson, is in need of a bone marrow transplant in order to live a long and purposeful life. As stated, she has sickle cell disease and needs blood often. We are pleased to help Valeria search for a bone marrow match. You may be the person to save Valeria’s life. We hope you will come out on Saturday to donate blood and sign up as a bone marrow donor to give the gift of life to Valeria or another child in need.”
SCFF considers blood donation a high priority because of the need especially for Black and other persons of color blood donors. There are certain blood types, which carry specific antigens that are only found in people of African descent or non-African descent. Because of the lack of Black blood donors, the need is specifically high for Black children, who are struggling with certain blood-related disorders such as sickle cell anemia.
“You do not have to be African American to match an African American donor,” said Bakewell. “We’re asking people of color to come out because sometimes we do have rare blood—especially for sickle cell patients.”
Patients with Sickle cell disease have different requirements with blood donors that do not have C, E, and K red cell proteins. If a donor does not have these proteins on their red blood cells, their blood is reserved for transfusions for patients with sickle cell disease. Fifty-five percent of African Americans are CEK-negative, compared to less than 1% of the general population.
"With all of those things we know, without us coming together as a community to support it, it’s not going to lead to these kids having successful treatments.”
Most people avoid giving blood due to fear of needles or having the wrong information. If you are a first-time donor, after the initial pinch of the needle, the process is over. The few minutes spent giving blood is helping those in need and Children’s Hospital LA makes sure your experience is comfortable.
“This is going to be a day of celebration, of life but more important, it is to honor Sabriya and to know she passed away for a purpose—and that is to help other kids.”
There are three blood types: A, B or O. However those of African descent carry an antigen within their blood that is critical to helping others of African descent in recovery when blood transfusions are necessary.
You can show your support by putting out the word to your friends and family to donate blood. There is a serious shortage of blood for children of color, so join the effort to help our children. If you are 17 or older, then you can donate!
“We need to be the success, we need to be the match, we need to be the blood donors—we meaning all of us,” said Bakewell.
Sign up to volunteer the day of the event by clicking on this link: http://www.sabriyascastle.org/blood-drives.html. Many partners have committed to support the drive, including 94.7 the WAVE. There will free food and hourly raffles for those who come out to donate.
On Saturday, March 15, in front of the LA Sentinel at 3800 S. Crenshaw Blvd., in partnership with Children’s Hospital, help us to celebrate and wish Happy Birthday to Sabriya Bakewell by helping to make sure other kids will get to celebrate their birthdays as well.