Blood drive seeks to help patients in need, educate community

September 2, 2014

To commemorate September as National Sickle Cell Awareness Month Morning Star Baptist Church and the American Red Cross are working together to host the Charles Drew Blood Drive on Sept. 13.The drive will serve to provide blood for patients in need and educate the community about the importance of maintaining a diverse blood supply.

The blood drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Morning Star Baptist Church, 4927 NE 55th Ave., Portland.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited disorder that causes red blood cells to form an abnormal crescent shape. It is estimated that sickle cell disease affects as many as 100,000 people in the U.S. Many of these patients face a lifetime of blood transfusions to help reduce the risk of stroke, damage to major organs and other complications that can arise as a result of sickle cell disease.

Since blood from donors of the same ethnic background as the recipient is less likely to cause complications, the Red Cross must maintain a diverse blood supply. This is particularly important for patients like those with sickle cell disease who may require regular blood transfusions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that sickle cell disease occurs in 1 out of every 500 Black or African-American births. Its prevalence in the African-American population means that African-American donors can often provide blood that is the best match for those who suffer with sickle cell disease.

The Red Cross encourages eligible donors to help ensure a stable and diverse blood supply by giving blood at the Morningstar Baptist Church Charles Drew Blood Drive on Sept. 13. For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit and enter the sponsor code: CHARLESDREW.

The blood drive is being held in conjunction with a 5K walk/run fundraiser, which kicks off the same morning at Morning Star Baptist Church. All proceeds will benefit the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation of Oregon. For more information, call (503) 249-1366.

About Dr. Charles Drew

Dr. Charles Drew was an African-American blood specialist, surgeon, educator and scientist. In 1941, he became the first medical director of the first American Red Cross blood bank.

How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit 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 (16 with parental consent in some states), 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.

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 or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.