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Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Give Back to the Community Through Blood Drives

By: Richard Darryl Nichols, Inland Valley News

SAN BERNARDINO, CA – The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Pi Rho Chapter, San Bernardino recently held a blood drive at St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church in La Puente, CA Dr. Anthony Dockery, pastor of the church, and the church members offered the spacious Dr. E.W. McCall Family Life Center facility to the fraternity to host the blood drive. 

Trina Wilson, a licensed phle- botomist and supervisor of the mobile truck with LifeStream Blood Bank was in charging of collecting the donated blood. LifeStream Blood Bank has served the Inland Empire and surrounding areas since 1951 providing lifesaving blood products and services to more than 80 Southern California hospitals and medical facilities. As a non-profit organization, LifeStream relies upon the generosity of more than 500 blood donation daily. 

A question many in the healthcare field are asking is “Why aren’t more African Americans donating blood?” Sadie Jordan, with Community Health Intervention-A Sickle Cell Agency, answered saying, “we have less than one percent of the African American minority community donating blood.” She remarked about a survey conducted two years ago to find out why people in the community don’t give blood. “What we were told is nobody asked. We were told they don’t like needles or have low iron,” says Jordan who is the Community Outreach 

Manager. One donation can help multiple patients. 

After collecting the donated blood, lab techs take red blood cells, plasma and platelets are separated, stored and distributed separately. Blood cannot be manufactured; it can only come from generous donors. 

Blood is composed of 3 main components: red cells, plasma and platelets. Most donated red blood cells must be used within 42 days of collection. Apheresis is a mode of collection that allows a donor to give only the specific blood component that is in need by patients, such as platelets. Platelets are especially in need by cancer patients and must be used within 5 days of collection. New donations are continuously in need. All blood types are needed to help patient; the need for type O negative is especially acute. 

Only 7% of U.S. residents have “universal” blood. 1 in 7 people entering the hospital will need a blood transfusion. Less than 10% of the population eligible to donate blood actually does so. Every 2 seconds someone needs blood. 1 in 7 hospital patients needs blood. Blood makes up about 8% of the human body. 

Blood donating is critical in preserving life. There is not one person who wants to be in the position of needing blood to maintain health, to battle disease or to recover from injury; however, 1in4ofus,atsomepointinourlife, will require a blood transfusion. Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. A liver transplant recipient needs approximate 45 units or red blood cells, plasma and platelets. Heart surgery patients may need 7 units of red blood cells and platelets. A marrow transplant 

recipient needs up to 45 units of red blood cells and platelets. Trauma victims can need 2-10 units of red blood cells per treatment. Blood is needed daily to assist patients in local hospitals and cannot be manufactured. Your donation could be used for cancer treatments, surgeries, organ transplants, newborns, severe burns and trauma. Every time you give blood, you are saving lives. 

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. is expected to facilitate, participate and/or coordinate activities that will uplift their communities by promoting good health practices. One program that the fraternity uses is the Dr. Charles Drew Blood Drive. The drive is named after their fraternity brother who was an African American physician who developed ways to process and store blood plasma in “blood banks.” He directed the blood plasma program of the United States and Great Britain in World War II; but resigned after a ruling that the blood of Americans would be segregated. 

The Pi Rho Chapter is continuing its efforts to bring awareness and help with the supply of blood. It will host another Blood Drive on Saturday, August 27, 2022, from 9amto2pmattheCenterfor Youth and Community Development 468 W. 5th Street, San Bernardino, California. All donors will receive a Counting on You towel. for appointments, call 1-800-879-4484 or visit lsblooddrive.org/mcyd. The Nurse Pub, a non-profit organization will be on site to give free Covid testing. The Center will be giving away free backpacks to students. 

Inland Valley News coverage of local news in San Bernardino county is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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