On Saturday, June 4, the members of Omega Psi Phi, Alpha Upsilon Chapter and Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Rho Omega Chapter got together for the Omega’s 4th Annual Blood Drive. The blood drive took place on the corner of Putnam Avenue and Fulton Street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. This year’s blood drive took on a block party-like atmosphere with hamburgers and hot dogs for both donors and members of the community, face painting for the children and rhythmic tunes for all to hear.
“Omega Man Dr. Charles Drew was a brilliant surgeon, teacher and scientist who left behind a legacy of life saving techniques,” said Robert L. Jones, MD, President & CEO of the New York Blood Center. “Virtually any person who has received a life saving blood transfusion in the past sixty years owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. Drew, as he is responsible for creating the world’s first blood bank and revolutionizing the medical profession through his pioneering research into blood preservation in the early 1940s.” In honor of Dr. Charles Drew, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated has established a health initiative as one of its mandated programs. Alpha Upsilon Chapter has chosen to take on a blood drive for the past 4 years as a way to help uplift their community and promote good health practices. The blood drive was a huge success with 85 individuals registered as blood donors with 58 pints collected.
Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects approximately 80,000 people in the United States, 97% of whom are of African heritage. About 1 in 500 African American babies are born with SCD each year. The complications of the disorder are chronic, acute and life threatening. Young children with SCD are especially vulnerable, particularly to the risk of multiple strokes.
At present, there is no established cure for SCD, and it is likely there will be none until stem cell transplantation moves beyond the experimental stage. However, during the past thirty years chronic blood transfusion therapy has been found to be one of the most effective treatments for preventing and treating the disease’s many complications, including the prevention of primary strokes in young children.
“Increased blood donations from the metropolitan area’s African American community is currently the most effective and simplest response to treating this serious disease,” said Millicent Sutton, MD, Medical Director of NYBC’s Precise Match Programs. “Yet, less than 10% of our donors are African American. But through continuing aggressive outreach, education efforts and the work of our Precise Match Program, we hope to draw attention to sickle cell disease and the incredible need for people of African descent to donate blood.” This year’s blood drive registered 40 individuals for the national marrow program.
(article written by Khalek Kirkland, Ed.D., Chair of Brooklyn Omega’s Alpha Upsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity for “Blood Drive 2011” .)