February is Black History Month, and in the spirit of Dr. Charles Drew, a black surgeon and blood specialist who became the first medical director of an American Red Cross blood bank in 1941, the Red Cross reminds all eligible donors how important it is that donors are as diverse as the patients who need their help. Drew's pioneering work in blood collection and transfusion laid the foundation for modern blood banks.
All patients are matched by blood type and Rh factor prior to transfusion. For some patients, additional red cell markers in donated blood also have to be matched. These markers are determined by ethnicity and are best found in a diverse donor base. For more information and to make an appointment to donate, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
Grundy County: Feb. 25 from 1-6 p.m. at Gladbrook Reinbeck High School, 600 Blackhawk St. in Reinbeck, Iowa.
How to donate blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.