17th annual Dr. Charles Drew Blood Drive highlights need for diverse blood supply

Red Cross Seeks Blood Donors of all Races & Ethnicities to Meet Diverse Patient Needs

(PORTLAND, OR) June 14, 2022 — The American Red Cross announces the 17th annual Dr. Charles Drew Blood Drive, highlighting the need for a diverse blood supply, Saturday, June 18, from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Red Cross Portland Blood Donation Center, 3131 N. Vancouver Ave.

Maintaining a diverse blood supply is a priority to the American Red Cross because of its importance to patients. Diverse blood donors may have the unique ability to help patients with different illnesses or inherited diseases – for example, those with sickle cell anemia.

Diversity among blood donors is critical because red blood cells carry markers that determine blood type, and certain blood types are unique to specific racial and ethnic groups. In addition, sickle cell disease affects as many as 100,000 people in the U.S. More than 90% of those individuals are of African descent.

Sickle cell disease is a lifelong inherited blood disorder that can cause anemia, tissue and organ damage, strokes, and terrible pain. Sickle cell patients often receive blood transfusions on an ongoing basis to help prevent and treat symptoms. A sickle cell patient in need is more likely to find a compatible blood match from a donor of the same race or ethnic group.

Drew, known as the “father of the blood bank,” was an African American surgeon, educator and scientist who helped shape the blood services industry. In the 1940s, he laid the groundwork for today’s modern blood donation program through his innovative work in blood banking. The Red Cross blood program started in 1940, under the leadership of Drew, who became the first medical director for the Red Cross in 1941.

The Dr. Charles Drew Blood Drive occurs at a time when the Red Cross urges donors – especially those who have never given blood before –to make an appointment to give. The Red Cross needs donors of all blood types to help ensure a sufficient supply for patients.

Many sponsoring community groups make this event possible through their partnerships, promotion and recruitment efforts. The Dr. Charles Drew Blood drive is sponsored by Donation appointments can be easily scheduled by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

*Oregon and Washington still require face masks be worn at all blood donation sites and drives.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.