ST. LOUIS — In honor of Black History Month this February, and in the spirit of Dr. Charles Drew, an African-American surgeon who was the first medical director of the American Red Cross and a modern blood-banking pioneer, eligible donors are encouraged to give blood.
Blood from a donor with a similar ethnic background as that of the patient is less likely to cause complications, particularly for those patients whose chronic conditions require repeated transfusions. Sickle cell disease is one such chronic condition affecting as many as 100,000 people in the United States.
Prior to transfusion, blood type and Rh factor are matched between donated blood and the patient in need. In some cases, additional red cell markers in donated blood must be matched, as well. These markers are best found in blood from donors of a similar ethnicity.
With seasonal flu and inclement winter weather preventing many regular donors from giving, the Red Cross urges healthy, eligible donors to make an appointment to donate blood in the coming days and weeks. All blood types are needed to help maintain a diverse and sufficient blood supply, especially types O negative, A negative and B negative.
To learn more about donating blood and to schedule an appointment, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call (800) RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
Feb. 2: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Collinsville Gateway Center, 1 Gateway Drive
Feb. 9: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Lewis and Clark Community College, 5800 Godfrey Road
Feb. 14: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Rivers of Life Christian School and Rivers of Life Community Church, 3131 E. 23rd St.
Feb. 9: 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Lewis and Clark Elementary, 501 E. Lorena