Saving Lives Through Service in Memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The American Red Cross in the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Regional Diversity & Inclusion Task Team is proud to sponsor the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Sleeves Up Campaign!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a champion in activism and became the single most visible spokesman and leader of the Civil Rights Movement. He sought equality and human rights for the African American community and all who were economically disadvantaged, disenfranchised, and underrepresented. Until his assassination in 1968, Dr. King held strong to his beliefs that non-violent, peaceful protests were the best way to advocate for change.

Signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 and celebrated on the third Monday of January, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday marking the birth date of Dr. King. This holiday serves as a memorial to this great civil rights leader and in keeping his dream of solidarity, unity, and equality alive. The Martin Luther King holiday is also designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities!

The American Red Cross is driven by the incredible commitment of our volunteers, including our blood donors. We are also dedicated to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The Red Cross is working to help increase health equity in our country for all people, including patients with Sickle Cell Disease, through our blood collections program.

About 100,000 people in the U.S. have Sickle Cell Disease, the majority of whom are of African descent. This inherited disease causes red blood cells to be rigid and sickle shaped instead of soft and round. As a result, blood has difficulty flowing smoothly and carrying oxygen to the rest of the body. This can cause severe pain, organ damage, and even stroke.

People with Sickle Cell Disease rely on regular blood transfusions to help relieve their symptoms. To ensure the best match for these patients, the Red Cross goes beyond the traditional ABO blood types to look for strong antigen-level matches between blood donor and blood recipient. These antigen-level matches are more likely in donors from African American communities.

Therefore, the American Red Cross is in need of more African American and Latino blood donors to help ensure the best transfusion matches for Sickle Cell patients. We are asking all healthy and eligible donors from all communities to help us save a life and join us in our fight against Sickle Cell Disease.

Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. is in need of blood. Many of them are Sickle Cell patients, but many are also cancer patients, trauma patients, newborn babies, patients with chronic illnesses, and patients in need of surgery or organ transplants.


What your donors are up to...

Take a photo of yourself donating blood and share it! Just use #mlkmemorialblooddrive

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