Resource fair and blood drive held to raise awareness about sickle cell disease

The American Red Cross teamed up with community organizations Wednesday to raise awareness about sickle cell disease.
It is a blood disorder that affects hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen through the body.
Nearly 100,000 Americans have the disease, mainly African Americans.
A blood drive and community resource fair was held Wednesday at the Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport to support patients, provide resources and encourage blood donations.
Doctors call it a silent disease.
"Patients are often dealing with intractable pain or damage to other organs which you can't see visibly. But we know as people who are donating blood, that understand blood, that understand the importance of blood, that blood is really is an ultimate treatment for sickle cell," says Dr. Cecelia Calhoun, medical director of the Adult Sickle Cell Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital.
Organizers say donating is blood is also important because there is currently a national blood shortage.
September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month.