The American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to help ensure a stable and diverse blood supply by giving blood in honor of National Sickle Cell Awareness Month this September. Sickle cell disease is an inherited disease that causes red blood cells to form an abnormal crescent shape. It is estimated that sickle cell disease affects as many as 100,000 people in the U.S. Many of these patients face a lifetime of blood transfusions to help reduce the risk of stroke, damage to major organs and other complications that can arise as a result of sickle cell disease. Since blood from donors of the same ethnic background as the recipient is less likely to cause complications, the Red Cross must maintain a diverse blood supply. This is particularly important for patients like those with sickle cell disease who may require regular blood transfusions. For more information or to make an appointment to donate blood, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS. Upcoming blood donation opportunities for the area Bridgeport Sept. 2, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. People\u2019s United Bank, 850 Main Street. Stratford Sept. 5, 1-6 p.m. Knights of Columbus, 2252 Main St. Trumbull Sept. 7, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Trumbull Firehouse, 860 White Plains Road. Shelton Sept. 15, 8 a.m.-1:45 p.m. R.D. Scinto Towers, 2 Corporate Drive. How to donate blood A blood donor card or driver\u2019s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age, 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.