Alonzo's story

Diagnosed at birth, Alonzo’s condition has gradually worsened over the years.

Alonzo, 36, from Lambeth, is supporting the #DearSickleCell campaign by sharing his sickle cell story.

He knows all too well how precious well-matched blood can be after being rushed into intensive care following a sickle cell crisis and mini stroke in 2011.

“I was told I needed 12 units of blood to stay alive. There were only 12 units of blood in the entire country that were a match for me,” he said.

“Amazingly, units of that precious B positive were blue lighted from South London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leicester and elsewhere that ultimately saved my life.”

Alonzo has developed antibodies which means his blood type is incredibly rare. The transfusions he receives need to be exactly matched to his own. Ethnically matched blood provides the best treatment for this. 

There are very few donors that match my blood type but those that do are likely to be the same ethnicity as myself. So, if it wasn’t for Black blood donors, I wouldn’t be here today.

Diagnosed at birth, Alonzo’s condition has gradually worsened over the years. He’s now in crisis every day due to Avascular Necrosis.

“My joints are constantly in pain, but it fluctuates in intensity. When you’ve had as many crises as I have, it damages the tissue. It gets to the point where the pain is a permanent, and you learn how to cope with that.”

To manage his condition, Alonzo undergoes red cell exchange treatment every four weeks, where he receives 7-12 units of blood each time. 

“Since my episode of strokes in 2011 I’ve needed regular exchange transfusions. They help me manage my condition a lot more easily,” he said.

Please register to give blood today and your donation could help someone like Alonzo.