12-04-2016  8:23 am      •     

The Charles Drew Blood Drive educates on the importance of African Americans donating blood to help Sickle Cell patients and others in need. Our community has the power to help save lives by giving blood and spreading the word.

Doctor Charles Drew, an African American blood specialist, surgeon, educator and scientist, was the first medical director of the first American Red Cross blood bank.

This important drive honors his legacy and helps strengthen our Portland community.

The drive is on Juneteenth -- Saturday, June 16, at the Portland Donor Center at 3131 N. Vancouver Ave. (just blocks from Emanuel Hospital and African American Health Coalition) and runs from 7:30 AM to 1 PM. To celebrate the fifth year, each presenting donor will receive a free Fifth Annual Charles Drew Blood Drive t-shirt.

Blood recipients are most likely to find compatible blood for transfusion from donors of the same ethnic background. This becomes particularly urgent for illnesses where multiple transfusions can cause difficult cross-matching, such as sickle-cell disease, a blood disorder carried by 1 in 12 African Americans. Additionally, of the more than 112,560 people currently awaiting an organ transplant, 55.04 percent represent ethnic minorities and only 35 percent represent ethnic minorities who have signed up on the Organ, Eye and Tissue registry. 

Organ recipients are also most likely to be compatible with donors from the same ethnicity. Donate Life Northwest urges people to help save lives by joining the Organ, Eye and Tissue Registry. Each year, 10,000 patients also need a marrow transplant from an unrelated donor, but only half receive one. Be The Match Foundation depends on people joining the bone marrow registry to make sure every patient counts! The Charles Drew Blood Drive strives to educate the community on the importance of African Americans donating blood. Donate Life Northwest and Be the Match will have information available about joining the organ, eye and tissue and bone marrow registries.

Also at the event will be local author and blood donation advocate Denise Sayles. She will be on site to talk with donors about their lifesaving contribution – one that impacted her son Woody. Denise's son passed away from leukemia, but before her son died, former NBA star Brian Grant helped host some of the largest, most successful drives ever experienced by the local Red Cross. These momentous blood, organ and bone marrow drives also spread awareness to sign up registry donors. Denise has offered to have her book "Leukemia Took My Son: The Journey of a Brave Teen Named Woody and His Grieving Mother" available for purchase at the drive (also sold at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com). She also plans to donate a portion of proceeds from book sales to the Red Cross and sign copies on site. "I will do all I can to rally the people to come out and give blood," Denise said.

Many sponsoring community groups make this event possible. The Charles Drew Blood Drive was initiated by Kaiser Permanente African American Professional Association and includes several African American sororities and fraternities. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet Portland Development Commissioner Aneshka Dickson at the drive. We thank all partnerships and give recognition to their promotion and recruitment efforts. The blood drive sponsors for the 2012 drive are: Colas Construction Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha, Urban League of Portland Young Professionals, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, SEI, Electrical Workers Minority Caucus, Zeta Phi Beta, Phi Beta Sigma, Delta Sigma Theta and The Links Inc.

For more information www.redcrossblood.org/pnw.

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