On Monday, MLK Day, the sisters of Columbia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta hosted a blood drive as part of the National Day of Service. The National Day of Service was established to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to encourage all Americans to volunteer and improve their local communities.
“Our chapter is involved in all kinds of community events, and one of the things we focus on is healthy living and giving back to the community. We know today is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day - it’s a day on, not a day off,” said Brenda Branic, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. “MLK says you got to do whatever you can do to make a positive difference. We know that all our sisters and brothers in the Divine Nine are doing things to have a positive impact today.”
Last fall, the American Red Cross launched “Joined by Blood,” a component of our Sickle Cell Initiative, to grow the number of blood donors who are Black and help improve the health outcomes of patients with sickle cell disease through impactful community-based partnerships. The Red Cross is partnering with community organizations like the National Pan-Hellenic Council to encourage members of historically Black fraternities and sororities, affectionately known as the Divine Nine, to roll up a sleeve and give blood.
“I am anemic, and my hemoglobin has gotten so low before that I’ve needed a transfusion. Knowing that I myself need blood, if I’m able to, I would like to give blood,” Toniea James, Healthcare Committee Chair for Columbia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, describes why she’s proud to host a blood drive. “I also have a sister that had a medical emergency after childbirth, and she needed three pints of blood. Had she not been able to get that blood, she wouldn’t be with us today.”
About Sickle Cell Disease: Sickle cell disease is the most common genetic blood disorder in the U.S., and regular blood transfusions are critical to managing extreme pain and life-threatening complications. In the U.S., it is estimated that over 100,000 people have sickle cell disease and may require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lifetime — as many as 100 units of blood per patient each year. One in 3 African American blood donors are a match for people with sickle cell disease. To help ensure patients have the blood products they need, the American Red Cross is working with partners in the Black community to grow the number of blood donors who are Black.