NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — The Illinois State University Association of Black Academic Employees (ABAE) held a blood drive on Friday. The goal was to raise awareness about sickle cell disease.

People with sickle cell disease have red blood cell shortages, so blood donations are a big help. According to American Red Cross people with sickle cell disease may need 100 units of blood each year.

The group chose to host the blood drive during Black History Month because sickle cell disease is common in the black community.

According to the CDC, sickle cell disease occurs in one out of 365 black or African-American births. One out of 13 Black babies is born with the sickle cell trait.

“Sickle cell disease is very prevalent in our community. So, we want to make sure people are aware. And we are hosting this to provide education to sickle cell awareness and to elevate the participation in the black community,” said ABAE’s Vice-President Lindsay Vahl Dean.

September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month and World Sickle Cell Day is June 19.