10th Annual Tackle Sickle Cell Blood Drive taking place this week

Former Rutgers University football stars Devin and Jason McCourty’s Tackle Sickle Cell organization, along with Embrace Kids Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, will celebrate a successful decade of partnership by hosting the 10th Annual Tackle Sickle Cell community blood drive Saturday to combat ongoing blood shortages and support individuals who are battling sickle cell disease.

The 10th Annual Tackle Sickle Cell Blood Drive takes place in RWJUH’s Arline and Henry Schwartzman Courtyard from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

To register, click here or call 732-235-8100.

All donors 17 years and older must weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in good health. 16-year-old donors must provide written parental consent, weigh a minimum of 120 pounds and be in good health.

Donors are reminded to bring a photo ID, eat a good meal and drink plenty of fluids before donation. Masks are required at all times while on the hospital grounds.

The McCourty twins invite the public to support their Tackle Sickle Cell campaign by donating blood, increasing awareness and raising funds. They were football standouts at Rutgers University before moving on to the NFL. Devin McCourty recently completed his 12th season with the New England Patriots. Jason McCourty retired after 13 seasons and now hosts “Good Morning Football” on the NFL Network.

The McCourty twins have generously supported the campaign and given their time to promote and attend the blood drives, visiting with donors, fans and patients while donating blood themselves.

The blood drive has traditionally been held in February to address seasonal blood shortages, and is also held as part of RWJUH’s Black History Month activities to raise awareness about the need for specific and unique blood type donations that can support diverse patient populations.

“Embrace Kids is proud to partner with Tackle Sickle Cell and RWJUH to raise awareness about this disease and encourage individuals to donate much-needed blood and blood products,” Armaan Saxena, executive director of the Embrace Kids Foundation, said. “Embrace Kids has a long and proud history of supporting critical programs and services offered at the Bristol Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at RWJUH for many years. Supporting Tackle Sickle Cell aligns perfectly with this mission, and we are deeply gratified to have a positive impact on so many lives through this blood drive over the past 10 years.”

One in 500 African Americans and 1 in 1,400 Latinos are born with sickle cell disease. It also affects people of Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Indian and Mediterranean descent.

All presenting donors receive a commemorative Tackle Sickle Cell T-shirt and refreshments courtesy of Jersey Mike’s. Everyone who registers through the website and presents to donate also will receive a $10 gift card to Hansel n’ Griddle.