June 17 event includes sickle cell awareness discussion panel
PORTLAND, Ore. (June 9, 2017) — The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to give at the 12th annual Dr. Charles Drew blood drive Saturday, June 17, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Red Cross Portland Blood Donation Center, 3131 N. Vancouver Ave. All those coming to donate will receive a commemorative T-shirt, a $10 Visa gift card, courtesy of Suburban Propane, and a 50 percent off Adidas coupon, while supplies last.
In the 1940s, Drew laid the groundwork for today’s modern blood donation program through his innovative work in blood banking. The Red Cross blood program began in 1940, under the leadership of Drew who became the organization’s first medical director in 1941.
“Dr. Drew’s contributions to the blood banking industry are momentous,” said Dr. Hank Hanna, medical director of the Red Cross Pacific Northwest Blood Services Region. “He was a surgeon, educator, scientist and the first African-American blood specialist who helped shaped the blood services industry. His legacy is far-reaching and we hope this drive helps educate the community about the need for a diverse blood supply.”
Diversity among blood donors is important because red blood cells carry markers that determine blood type, and certain blood types are unique to specific racial and ethnic groups. Patients are less likely to experience complications from blood donated by someone with a similar ethnicity.
The Dr. Charles Drew blood drive occurs as the Red Cross urges those who have never given blood before – as well as those who haven’t given recently – to make an appointment to give blood now and help sustain a sufficient community blood supply this summer. Nationwide and in Oregon, about one-third fewer new donors came out to give last summer than during the rest of the year.
“We hope to have new, first-time donors who make the Dr. Charles Drew blood drive their first donation experience,” said Hanna. “And though it takes less than an hour to give blood, donors may want to stick around to participate in the day’s activities.”
The Dr. Charles Drew blood drive also will feature line dance performances by the Sistahs4Life and a sickle cell disease discussion panel led by Leonard Lamberth, board member of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Oregon, and Marcia Taylor, executive director of the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation of Oregon.
Many sponsoring community groups make this event possible through their partnerships, promotion and recruitment efforts. The Dr. Charles Drew blood drive is sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Colas Construction, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Electrical Workers Minority Caucus, Kaiser Permanente, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Oregon Coalition of Black Trade Unionist, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Self Enhancement, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Sistahs4Life, Inc., The Links, Inc. Portland Chapter, The Portland Observer, The Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation of Oregon, Inc., Urban League of Portland Young Professionals and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.