American Red Cross Celebrates 11th Annual ‘Blood of the Martyrs’ Campaign

January 18, 2011


Blood drives to be held throughout Michigan to Share the Dream of Life


Lansing, MI– January 12, 2011 – This month, the American Red Cross is honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by celebrating his message during the 11th Annual ‘Blood of the Martyrs’ campaign.

 The Great Lakes Blood Services Region will hold special blood drives from Friday, January 14 through Friday, January 21 to commemorate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Campaign organizers and American Red Cross officials encourage eligible donors of all backgrounds, especially the African American community, to join the tradition by donating blood to honor the legacy of the slain civil rights leader.  African Americans make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, but only 2 percent donate blood.

 “What better way to honor a great man than to help save lives by donating blood?” asked Ronald Landfair, Director of the Black Catholic Ministry for the Diocese of Lansing.  “People of all races and ethnic backgrounds can be an inspiration like Dr. King.  Anyone can be an everyday hero and positively impact lives.” 

Landfair began the Martin Luther King Jr. Day blood donor initiative for Michigan in 2000 and it has become a national effort.  The goal of the campaign is to educate everyone about the need for blood and increase blood donations during the difficult winter months.

“Diversity in blood donors is important. The more diverse the blood supply, the better we are able to match an individual’s blood type, especially if it is a rare type,” said Sharon Jaksa, CEO for the American Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region.  “During January our blood collections typically decrease and we appreciate working with Ron to help maintain a healthy blood supply.”

Everyone who attempts to donate blood at participating drives in the Great Lakes Region will receive a commemorative 2011 lapel pin in honor of Dr. King.  “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” Dr. King, a martyr in many ways, once asked.  The ‘Blood of the Martyrs’ campaign is one way to answer that question.