September Monthly Focus: National Preparedness Month and Sickle Cell Awareness Month

National Preparedness Month 

What is National Preparedness Month? 

National Preparedness Month encourages people to prepare for disasters and emergencies to ensure the safety of themselves and others. Though preparedness is important all year round, September is a time to remind everyone how and why to make emergency plans. 

How can you participate? 

There are endless ways to promote National Preparedness Month! First, ensure that all of your Red Crossers have plans with their families: talking about what to do in any case from evacuation to home fire escape can make all the difference in any emergency. For more ideas of how to engage youth and raise awareness about this month and preparedness in general, check out our activity guides below! 

Activity Guides:



Take the lead this year and help older adults be prepared! 

Preparedness is important for everyone, but it can look a bit different for people of different ages. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many older adults have been taking greater precautions than low-risk populations have. You can help older adults by learning how they should prepare for disasters and emergencies!  

Preparedness at your fingertips: 

The American Red Cross has a ton of mobile apps that you can download with your family, friends, and fellow Red-Crossers! All are available on the App Store and Google Play, or you can text the corresponding codes for each app. Listed below are a few great ones for preparedness: 

  • First Aid: GETFIRST to 90999 
  • Pet First Aid: GETPET to 90999 
  • Emergency: GETEMERGENCY to 90999 
  • Hurricane: GETCANE to 90999 
  • Tornado: GETNADO to 90999 
  • Earthquake: GETQUAKE to 90999 
  • Monster Guard: MONSTER to 90999 
  • Great for your younger siblings to learn about emergency preparedness! 

Learn more about Red Cross mobile apps here. 


Sickle Cell Awareness Month

What is Sickle Cell Awareness? 

The American Red Cross’s Sickle Cell Awareness Month encourages people to learn more about sickle cell disease (anemia) and the importance of donating blood. Sickle cell disease is a contortion of the blood cells that results in a loss of healthy blood cells, and it is often treated with blood transfusions. This disease is the most common genetic blood disease in the U.S., affecting about 100,000 people—primarily affecting Black and African American individuals. Though there is no widely available cure, the Red Cross supports one of the most critical sickle treatments of all—blood transfusions.

What is Closing the Sickle Cell Gap? 

Closing the Sickle Cell Gap is an enterprise-wide campaign to triple the number of African American blood donors by the end of December 2024. This national effort will help the American Red Cross eliminate the gap in our ability to meet hospital demand and provide the most compatible units for patients with sickle cell disease. For many patients, a close blood type match is essential and is found in donors of the same race or similar ethnicity. As your clubs and councils start to host blood drives or even just raise awareness for sickle cell disease in your local community, it’s good to keep Red Cross’s Closing the Sickle Cell Gap project in mind. 

How can you participate? 

There are endless ways to promote Sickle Cell Awareness Month! The main goal is to educate your community about the disease and Red Cross’s initiatives, whether through trainings, social media campaigns, or guest speakers. Be sure to host a blood drive and work to increase the diversity of your blood donors—every pint counts! 

Sharing Stories 

Below are links to a few impactful stories to help highlight why sickle cell awareness is so important: 

If you know of a story, contact your regional communicator to share your story after getting permission from the affected patient and/or family. 

Closing the Sickle Cell Gap Year-Round  

September may be Sickle Cell Awareness Month, but our efforts continue all year round! Keep in mind these important dates relevant to sickle cell awareness—these are great days to target in your awareness campaigns: 

  • Black History Month: Every February 
  • Dr. Charles R. Drew Birthday: June 3 
  • Dr. Drew was an African American surgeon who researched blood transfusions and who organized the first large-scale blood bank at Howard University, a historically black university. Learn more about him here 
  • Keep an eye out for Red Cross’s Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCU) Blood Drive Challenge in early June! 
  • World Sickle Cell Day: June 19 
  • Learn more about significant dates within the Black community here 

Learning about Sickle Cell 

Especially if your Club/council is looking for virtual volunteer opportunities, encourage them to take EDGE Courses related to Sickle Cell awareness. You can EDGE through Volunteer Connection, right under your profile picture in the top right of your screen. Below is a list of relevant EDGE courses: 

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