The following article is sponsored by American Red Cross.
During Black History Month, the American Red Cross is honoring the significant achievements of Black Americans and the vital role blood donors who are Black play in helping meet the broader transfusion needs of patients and those with sickle cell disease.
With the theme “Black Excellence is In Our Blood,” the Red Cross is also commemorating the vibrant legacies of history makers whose contributions continue to advance our communities and lifesaving mission:
- Dr. Charles R. Drew, a notable member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., was a surgeon and pioneer of modern blood banking. Dr. Drew was named the first medical director of the Red Cross National Blood Collection Program in 1941. His work with the Red Cross helped save the lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians during World War II and his efforts to increase the blood supply led to the use of bloodmobiles and other collection, preservation and distribution processes still used today.
- Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, a notable member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., was an educator and civil rights leader who helped usher in a sustained presence of Black Americans in the mission of the Red Cross. She hosted blood drives and encouraged African American women to staff canteens. During World War II, Dr. Bethune served as director of the Florida Chapter of the Red Cross. She advocated for employment opportunities, disaster relief and diverse representation on Red Cross regional and national boards.
- Dr. Jerome Holland, the ninth president of Hampton University and former U.S. ambassador to Sweden, continued the legacies of Dr. Drew and Dr. Bethune when he was appointed as the first African American chairman of the Red Cross Board of Governors in 1979. Dr. Holland championed excellence in blood services through innovative technology, which resulted in increased blood donations and research of hereditary diseases.
Commemorate Black History Month by hosting a virtual blood drive!
This year’s Black History Month comes as the Red Cross is monitoring winter challenges that could impact the blood supply. Eligible donors are urged to make an appointment to give blood or host a virtual blood drive to help prevent a blood shortage in the weeks ahead.
Hosting a virtual blood drive is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
All you need to do is create a SleevesUp campaign online and send an invitation to your friends and family members from around the country in three simple steps. What better way to uplift our communities by inviting loved ones to join you in helping ensure blood is available for patients with sickle cell who depend on blood transfusions.
1. Go to https://rcblood.org/wty to create an account or sign in
2. Create a new campaign
3. Promote your campaign
Those who show up to donate blood with the Red Cross during Black History Month will receive a $10 Amazon.com gift card that can be used to support Black-owned businesses on Amazon. You’ll also be automatically entered for a chance to win a three-night trip for two to Clearwater Beach, FL, including hotel stay, round-trip airfare, a $750 gift card and more.