In honor of Black History Month this February, the American Red Cross encourages eligible donors, and especially those who have recovered from COVID-19, to give blood to honor the legacies of African Americans like Dr. Charles Drew and Dr. Jerome Holland. Their passion for helping 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 have the ability to 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.
Blood donation appointments can be made by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. As a thank-you for helping ensure a stable blood supply, those who come to give this February will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Amazon. (Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.)
Inspiring lifesaving action
This gift is made possible by a generous $1 million donation from Amazon, and the Red Cross hopes it will motivate donors to roll up a sleeve to ensure patients continue to have access to lifesaving blood products. During this pandemic, the Red Cross has been fortunate to witness the best of humanity and grateful to partners like Amazon, who have stepped up to help. Amazon’s generous donation will specifically help support the Red Cross efforts to collect a sufficient amount of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients as well as support the needs of sickle cell patients by helping to engage the Black community on the importance of giving blood and hosting blood drives.
In addition to Amazon’s financial gift, Amazon has opened their corporate and operations building to host blood drives nationwide. In 2020, Amazon hosted 65 blood drives, collecting nearly 2,000 donations to help save thousands of lives.