Give Blood in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 14, 2011

Honor the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and help the American Red Cross at one of the toughest times of the year for the blood supply


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., helped to change the world over four decades ago. Now, with the simple, selfless act of blood donation, you too can help change the world of someone in need of blood during the tough winter season.

Volunteer blood donors in metro Atlanta will have a chance to give blood and help save lives at the following drives on Monday, Jan. 17:

  • Gold’s Gym, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., 3362 Acworth Summit Blvd. in Acworth
  • First United Methodist Church, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., 102 South Main Street in Adairsville
  • Greater Second Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Corner of E. Broad & Dewey St. in Albany
  • WellStar Cobb Hospital, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., 3950 Austell Road in Austell
  • Orange United Methodist Church, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., 220 Orange Church Circle in Canton
  • Fort Daniel Elementary School, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., 1725 Auburn Road in Dacula
  • Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., 955 Johnson Ferry Road in Marietta
  • McDonough Presbyterian Church, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., 427 McGarity Road in McDonough
  • First Christian Church of Atlanta, 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., 4532 Lavist Road in Tucker
  • Winder Wesleyan Church, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., 64 East Midland Street in Winder

All presenting volunteer donors in the months of January, February and March will be entered into a regional drawing for one of two pairs of round-trip tickets on Delta Air Lines as part of the “Take to the Skies” promotion. Also, all presenting volunteer donors will receive a commemorative 2011 MLK Day blood donor pin.

It is very important that the blood supply remains as diverse as possible, and it is critical that African-American donors are engaged in the mission of the American Red Cross. Genetically-similar blood is less likely to be rejected or cause complications or illness for people who need repeated blood transfusions for conditions like cancer, leukemia, kidney disease and sickle cell anemia. One in 12 African-Americans carries the trait for sickle cell disease. One in 600 African-Americans has sickle cell anemia. Many sickle cell disease patients need blood transfusions every few weeks to help treat the effects of the disease by reducing recurrent pain crises, risk of stroke and other complications.

African-American communities also have a higher percentage of donors with type O or type B blood, commonly the first blood types to drop to critically low levels during a shortage. Some African-Americans also have rare blood types that are unique to the African-American community. Your blood type may be someone’s only hope for survival. While African-Americans comprise nearly 13 percent of the United States population, they represent less than one percent of blood donors.

You cannot catch infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, from donating blood. The needle is sterile, and the supplies are used only once and then discarded. If under control, neither high blood pressure nor diabetes prevents you from donating blood. The Red Cross will check your blood pressure to make sure it is at a safe level for you to donate.

Because blood can be separated into three components – blood, platelets and plasma – one donation can benefit up to three individuals. It takes up to three days for blood to be processed and made available to hospitals; therefore, it is important that a donation be made ahead of an emergency.

If you plan on giving blood, make sure to prepare yourself for the process. Double your fluid intake in the 48 hours leading up to the drive. Make sure to eat a nutritious meal the night before, as well as the day of, the blood drive. Eat iron-rich foods, such as lean beef, broccoli, eggs, greens, shrimp or dried beans in the days leading up to the blood drive. Also consume foods rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, cabbage, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep before the drive. Also, please remember to bring a photo ID with you to the drive.

The American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region, which supplies blood to approximately 120 hospitals, needs 1,200 blood donors each weekday in order to meet the needs of patients in the region. Blood donors must be at least 17 years old, or 16 with parental consent, and weigh at least 110 pounds. Donors who are 18 and younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements.

Please call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets.