CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The American Red Cross “Badges Unite Blood Drive” to benefit people with sickle cell disease will be held next week.

This effort to fight sickle cell actually started in February for Black History Month and is continuing this month with the “Badges Unite Blood Drive.”

The blood drive is like a battle of the badges with first responders of color being asked to come and donate blood on March 15th. Blood from African Americans is uniquely qualified to help people with sickle cell, an inherited blood disease that leaves a shortage of healthy blood cells.

It’s a disease that disproportionately affects people of color. “One in three African American blood donors are a match for patients dealing with sickle cell and it means that black and brown blood matters. It means that we need as many people of color to come out and give blood,” said Nia Rennix, Executive Director at Central and western Massachusetts Red Cross.

The American Red Cross is asking that people of color from the community come out to donate as well, all you have to do is sign up in advance.

The blood drive is taking place at the Springfield American Red Cross on Brookdale Drive. – if you’d like to sign up and donate, visit