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Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes urging blood donations to fight sickle cell disease

FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2009, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes(10) catches a touchdown pass as Arizona Cardinals' Aaron Francisco (47) and Ralph Brown watch during the fourth quarter of NFL football's Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Fla. The Steelers won 27-23, (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File) (Chris O'Meara, AP Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Santonio Holmes, former wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is urging people to help save the lives of African Americans battling sickle cell disease.

Holmes is most known for the “perfect catch” in Super Bowl 43, the last-minute touchdown helped the Steelers defeat the Arizona Cardinals. Holmes was named the MVP of Super Bowl 43 due to his game-winning touchdown.

Now, as reported by WKMG in Orlando, he wants more people to join his campaign with OneBlood and make a life-saving blood donation.

“Blood transfusion, they are the lifeline to sickle cell patients, we need more African Americans to donate blood because the diversity in blood supply is much needed,” Holmes said.

According to One Blood, less than 5% of African Americans donate blood. Holmes’ oldest son, TJ, was born with sickle cell disease and has received several blood transfusions.

Holmes said it’s very difficult to talk to people about kids having sickle cell disease. He said speaking as a parent, most people have no idea about treatment, and how it affects trait carriers.

“He’s the most important person in my life and football was the most important thing for me to be able to provide an opportunity for him to have a sustainable life by taking care of his medical expenses,” Holmes said.

Holmes launched the Third and Long Foundation in 2011 to raise awareness about sickle cell disease.

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