In honor of Black History Month this February, the American Red Cross encourages eligible donors, especially those who have recovered from COVID-19, to give blood to celebrate the legacies of African Americans like Dr. Charles Drew and Dr. Jerome Holland. Their passion for helping to improve the lives of patients in need of lifesaving blood products is carried on through dedicated blood donors, blood drive sponsors, volunteers and Red Cross employees.
Drew, an African American surgeon, was the medical director of the first Red Cross blood bank in 1941. Drew’s research about the storage and shipment of blood plasma proved that blood could be stored for transfusions. Many of the processes he developed are still in use today.
As the first African American chair of the Red Cross Board of Governors, Holland was passionate about blood research. His commitment to providing the safest possible blood products for patients in need helped inform many safeguards the Red Cross has in place today to not only protect patients but also blood donors.
Donors can create a legacy of their own simply by rolling up a sleeve to give blood, platelets or plasma to help patients in need. COVID-19 survivors are especially needed to address a convalescent plasma shortage. These individuals may have antibodies in their plasma that could help patients currently battling the virus.
Locally, there are two opportunities to give blood, both in Cambridge. On Thursday, Feb. 18, there will be a blood drive from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Cambridge Medical Center, located at 701 S. Dellwood Ave. The next day, on Feb. 19, New Hope Community Church, located at 33030 Vickers St. NE, will hold a blood drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.