FirstEnergy Foundation Grants $25,000 to Central Appalachian Region of the American Red Cross to Support Sickle Cell Initiative
FAIRMONT, W. Va., Feb. 6, 2023 -- The FirstEnergy Foundation is granting $25,000 to the Central Appalachian Region of the American Red Cross to continue its important work in the Mon Power service area supporting the health and wellness of diverse community members through the American Red Cross Sickle Cell Initiative.
The grant will help the Red Cross aid people with sickle cell disease, the most common genetic blood disease in the U.S., which affects about 100,000 people, primarily of African descent. As a group, people with sickle cell disease experience worse health outcomes compared to patients with other diseases and have access to fewer health resources. The American Red Cross Sickle Cell Initiative will improve their quality of life by working to address health outcome disparities in African American communities.
"We're proud to help the American Red Cross serve those without access to the treatment they need. The organization's efforts align with our company's commitment to strengthening low-income and underserved communities," said Lorna Wisham, president of the FirstEnergy Foundation.
Beyond the few medications available to treat sickle cell disease, regular blood transfusions can be crucial to alleviating its painful and life-threatening symptoms. The closely matched blood needed by patients with sickle cell disease — which is most commonly supplied by blood donors who are Black or African American — is often in short supply. In fact, the Red Cross is currently only able to provide the most compatible units of blood for people with sickle cell disease about 50% of the time. While the percentage of the U.S. population that identifies as Black or African American is 13.4%, the percentage of blood donors who identify as Black or African American is less than 3% — a gap that demands immediate attention.
"We are grateful for the generous grant that will help us address this health disparity," said Erica Mani, Red Cross Regional CEO. "The Red Cross's goal is to triple the number of blood donors who are Black or African American by the end of 2025, as they have the greatest potential to supply a compatible blood unit for transfusion for people living with sickle cell disease."
The FirstEnergy Foundation is funded solely by FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) and provides support to non-profit, tax-exempt health and human services agencies; educational organizations; cultural and arts programs and institutions; and civic groups in areas served by FirstEnergy's 10 electric distribution companies and in areas where the company conducts business.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
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