September 8, 2022

DAYTON, Ohio - Community Blood Center will help shine the light on September Sickle Cell Awareness Month and the critical need for a diverse blood supply with the Sickle Cell Awareness Blood Drive Sept. 12-17 at the Dayton CBC Donation Center, 349 S. Main St.

Make an appointment online at, call (937) 461-3220, or download the new Donor Time app.

Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims will welcome donors at the Sickle Cell Blood Drive Kickoff and news conference Monday, Sept. 12 at 10 a.m. at the Dayton CBC. He will be joined by Dayton Children's Hospital Sickle Cell Ambassador William McCoy III, a 13-year-old sickle cell patient and seventh-grader at Pathway School of Discovery in Dayton.

September Sickle Cell Awareness Month is a time to highlight how this often-invisible disease impacts more than 100,000 Americans, most of African descent, who will require regular blood transfusions to help manage the disease.

Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S. The patient's red blood cells are crescent or "sickle" shaped, rigid, and fragile. They block blood flow and the transport of oxygen to muscles and organs and cause painful episodes that can last for days.

Sickle cell impacts one out of 365 African-American babies born in the U.S. It is most common in African Americans and Hispanics but can occur in all races.

Sickle cell patients benefit most from blood transfusions from people of the same race or similar ethnicity, but only five percent of blood donors are of African ancestry.


CBC Sickle Cell Awareness Blood Drive Kickoff

Monday, Sept. 12, 10 a.m. Dayton CBC Donation Center

Guest speakers:


  • Mayor Jeffrey Mims, City of Dayton.
  • William McCoy III, Dayton Children's Sickle Cell Ambassador.
  • Dr. James Alexander, Community Blood Center Medical Director.
  • Dr. Mukund Dole, Dayton Children's Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist; West Central Ohio Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center Medical Director.
  • Kate Barrett, Dayton Children's Director of Hematology & Oncology.
  • Cynthia Moon, Dayton Children's Sickle Cell Program Manager.



 The William McCoy train doesn't stop for sickle cell. This smart, handsome 13-year-old with Harry Potter glasses and a fondness for Thomas the Tank Engine and British railways keeps a stiff upper lip when talking about the disease he has lived with since birth.

"Trustworthy," is how William describes himself.  "A trooper. And creative."

William is all those things and more, because that's what it takes to manage sickle cell and be a happy kid. 

"William is a very bubbly kid," said his mom Donna McCoy, Community Engagement Coordinator for the Center for Health Equity at Dayton Children's Hospital.

"He got to go before congress and talk about sickle cell. Our family is very involved with advocating. William represented Dayton Children's.  We really wanted to empower him and never be afraid. We don't want him to hide, we want him to advocate and be proud of who he is."

Both Donna and her husband William McCoy II have sickle cell trait. To be born with sickle cell disease, achild must inherit a copy of the sickle cell gene from both their parents.

Donna said William's experience with sickle cell has not been typical because he has had relatively few blood transfusions and pain episodes. The biggest challenge has been the way it compromises his immune system.

"He's good - he's been staying out of the hospital, that's the goal," she said. "Some people don't understand the effect sickle cell has on their lives. You can't look at him and tell that he has sickle cell. It's considered invisible but it is serious and is real.  Education is key and important."

"The first thing I can remember, I would get a pain in my stomach," said William. "It was sickle cell. I remember I was in crafts with my mom. I let people know what sickle cell is and how it affects me. Sometimes I'll talk about my asthma."

He remembers an attack that came just after being released from the hospital for treatment of an upper respiratory infection. "I could not talk," he said. "I couldn't even… it was really, all I can remember was making that little noise."

The threat of COVID-19 and the confinement of remote learning was especially hard. "That was very challenging emotionally for him being an only child," said Donna.  "He enjoys learning, loves reading, art, comics, loves to draw."

William was able to go back to classes at Pathway School of Discovery in Dayton in January and started the new school year on Aug. 10

"The best thing about being back in school - probably seeing my friends," said William.

William and his dad vividly remember the "Kids March on Washington" in 2018 when William represented Ohio and got to meet lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

"It's a good opportunity for him, character building, growth and maturity, build confidence in himself, and speak out for others who may not have this platform," said William's dad. "While he advocates for others, he's building confidence in himself."

William II proudly talks about his son's intuitive mind for learning computer coding, his interest in 3D printers, and his mastery of the video game Roadblock. "He'll find old toys, take them apart and put them back together," he said.

But Williams doesn't mind revealing he was a "huge fan" of Sonic the Hedgehog in fourth grade, and is still loyal to his childhood favorite, Thomas the Tank Engine.

"Thomas the tank engine - not a lot of fans my age," he said.  "I'm really into anything that goes on rails.

"I enjoy British things, Europe in general loves trains. The reason I love Thomas is that he's the reason train toys are still around. He made it more interesting."

That's why the William McCoy train doesn't stop for sickle cell.  Life is just so much more interesting.