Blood research contributions from Black doctors decades ago still saving lives today

Black History Month

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Red Cross is always in need of blood donations, but it’s usually during the winter months when the need increases, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Justina Williams received her first blood transfusion when she was six months old. Now at age 28, Williams says she has to get the procedure done every four to six weeks to treat her sickle cell disease, but she says when a pain crisis hits, it’s unbearable.

“It feels like shredded glass is moving through your body,” said Williams, describing how a pain crisis feels.

“I have a lot of pain in my shoulders, elbows, my knees, anywhere that blood flows sickle cell goes so it’s excruciating between that time. That’s why it’s so time-sensitive.”

The American Red Cross estimates 100,000 people have sickle cell disease, and the majority are African American. The second-largest population affected are Latinos.

Blood transfusions are the primary treatment for sickle cell disease. The chief executive medical officer for the Red Cross, Dr. Yvette Miller, says Dr. Charles Drew, a pioneer in medicine and a black doctor in the 1940s, led the research.

“He was the pioneering researcher that created the process to separate red blood cells from plasma, which is the same process we use today,” said Miller.

In addition, Dr. Jerome Holland put safeguards in place to protect blood donors and recipients – guidelines the Red Cross still abides by to this day. Contributions from these black doctors are saving countless lives, including Justina Williams’.

“I do appreciate when people donate blood because it’s given me life. They give a part of their life to help me live,” she said.

Williams has O-positive blood, which is the most common type, but it’s also in high demand, so she’s had to wait until there’s blood available for her transfusion. The longer she waits the more pain she could be in and the same goes for anyone else dealing with sickle cell disease.

Here is the full list of blood donation opportunities in central North Carolina through Feb. 28:

Alamance

Burlington
2/19/2021: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m., Alamance County Community YMCA, 1346 S Main Street
2/25/2021: 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Lakeview Community Church, 101 Boone Road
2/27/2021: 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Front St United Methodist Church, 136 S Fisher St

Mebane
2/18/2021: 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Tanger Outlets Mebane, 4000 Arrowhead Blvd, #120
2/25/2021: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Hope Church, 401 East Center Street



Chatham

Siler City
2/17/2021: 2:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Silk Hope Community Building, 4220 Silk Hope Road


Durham

Durham
2/16/2021: 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Durham Blood Donation Center, 4737 University Place
2/16/2021: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Aloft Durham Downtown Hotel, 345 Blackwell St
2/17/2021: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Research Triangle Park, 12 Davis Drive
2/17/2021: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Brightleaf at the Park Clubhouse, 2003 Copper Leaf Parkway
2/17/2021: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Durham Blood Donation Center, 4737 University Place
2/18/2021: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Durham Blood Donation Center, 4737 University Place
2/18/2021: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., New Hope Church, 7619 Fayetteville Rd
2/18/2021: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Zoomy Dogs, 5420 NC- 55
2/19/2021: 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Durham Blood Donation Center, 4737 University Place
2/19/2021: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., The Streets at Southpoint, 6910 Fayetteville Road
2/20/2021: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Holy Infant Catholic Church, 5000 Southpark Dr.
2/22/2021: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Durham Blood Donation Center, 4737 University Place
2/23/2021: 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Durham Blood Donation Center, 4737 University Place
2/23/2021: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Durham Academy, 3601 Ridge Road
2/23/2021: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Pleasant Green United Methodist Church, 3005 Pleasant Green Road
2/24/2021: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Durham Academy, 3601 Ridge Road
2/24/2021: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., Durham Blood Donation Center, 4737 University Place
2/24/2021: 2:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Rose of Sharon Baptist Church, 4109 Guess Road
2/25/2021: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Durham Blood Donation Center, 4737 University Place
2/25/2021: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., DoubleTree at Meridian Corporate Park, 2515 Meridian Parkway
2/26/2021: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Durham Blood Donation Center, 4737 University Place
2/26/2021: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Bethesda Ruritan Club, 1714 S. Miami Blvd


Granville

Oxford
2/26/2021: 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Oxford United Methodist Church, 105 W McClanahan St


Lee

Broadway
2/19/2021: 2:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Cameron Grove AME Zion Ch – Broadway, 309 Vernon St.

Sanford
2/23/2021: 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., St. Luke United Methodist Church, 2916 Wicker St.
2/26/2021: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Flat Springs Baptist Church, 4148 Deep River Rd.


Moore

Aberdeen
2/26/2021: 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., American Legion Post #72, 211 East Main Street

Pinehurst
2/18/2021: 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Carolina Hotel, 80 Carolina Vista Dr.


Orange

Chapel Hill
2/22/2021: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Univ of NC-CH Student Union, South Road
2/26/2021: 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., North Carolina Botanical Garden, 100 Old Mason Farm Road

Efland
2/24/2021: 2:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Efland Ruritan Club, 3009 Forest Avenue


Person

Roxboro
2/17/2021: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Person Family Medical & Dental Center, 702 N. Main St.
2/25/2021: 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Roxboro Community School, 115 Lake Drive
2/26/2021: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Person County Sheriff’s Department, 120 Court Street


Randolph

Asheboro
2/19/2021: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., YMCA Asheboro Randolph, 343 NC Hwy 42 North

Trinity
2/19/2021: 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Westfield Baptist Church – Trinity, 6863 Westfield Church Road


Vance

Henderson
2/23/2021: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Salvation Army Church – Henderson, 2292 Ross Mill Road


Wake

Apex
2/23/2021: 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Holland Chapel AME Zion Church, 360 Burgess Road

Cary
2/16/2021: 12:45 p.m. – 8 p.m., Cary Blood Donation Center, 3700 Regency Pkwy, Suite 150
2/18/2021: 9:45 a.m. – 5 p.m., Cary Blood Donation Center, 3700 Regency Pkwy, Suite 150
2/19/2021: 7:45 a.m. – 3 p.m., Cary Blood Donation Center, 3700 Regency Pkwy, Suite 150
2/20/2021: 7:45 a.m. – 3 p.m., Cary Blood Donation Center, 3700 Regency Pkwy, Suite 150
2/21/2021: 7:45 a.m. – 3 p.m., Cary Blood Donation Center, 3700 Regency Pkwy, Suite 150
2/22/2021: 12:45 p.m. – 8 p.m., Cary Blood Donation Center, 3700 Regency Pkwy, Suite 150
2/23/2021: 12:45 p.m. – 8 p.m., Cary Blood Donation Center, 3700 Regency Pkwy, Suite 150
2/25/2021: 9:45 a.m. – 5 p.m., Cary Blood Donation Center, 3700 Regency Pkwy, Suite 150
2/26/2021: 7:45 a.m. – 3 p.m., Cary Blood Donation Center, 3700 Regency Pkwy, Suite 150
2/27/2021: 7:45 a.m. – 3 p.m., Cary Blood Donation Center, 3700 Regency Pkwy, Suite 150
2/28/2021: 7:45 a.m. – 3 p.m., Cary Blood Donation Center, 3700 Regency Pkwy, Suite 150

Morrisville
2/23/2021: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Morrisville, 6011 McCrimmon Pkwy.
2/24/2021: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Keystone Park, 523 Davis Drive, Suite 200

Raleigh
2/16/2021: 12:45 p.m. – 8 p.m., North Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 8301 Bandford Way
2/17/2021: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 100 North Peartree Lane
2/18/2021: 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 100 North Peartree Lane
2/18/2021: 9:45 a.m. – 5 p.m., North Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 8301 Bandford Way
2/19/2021: 7:45 a.m. – 3 p.m., North Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 8301 Bandford Way
2/20/2021: 7:45 a.m. – 3 p.m., North Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 8301 Bandford Way
2/20/2021: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Mellow Mushroom Brier Creek, 9600 Brier Creek Parkway
2/21/2021: 7:45 a.m. – 3 p.m., North Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 8301 Bandford Way
2/22/2021: 12:45 p.m. – 8 p.m., North Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 8301 Bandford Way
2/22/2021: 2:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 100 North Peartree Lane
2/23/2021: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Brier Creek Country Club, 9400 Club Hill Drive
2/23/2021: 12:45 p.m. – 8 p.m., North Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 8301 Bandford Way
2/24/2021: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 100 North Peartree Lane
2/25/2021: 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 100 North Peartree Lane
2/25/2021: 9:45 a.m. – 5 p.m., North Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 8301 Bandford Way
2/26/2021: 7:45 a.m. – 3 p.m., North Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 8301 Bandford Way
2/27/2021: 7:45 a.m. – 3 p.m., North Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 8301 Bandford Way
2/28/2021: 7:45 a.m. – 3 p.m., North Raleigh Blood Donation Center, 8301 Bandford Way

Willow Spring
2/27/2021: 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Amplify Church, 2884 NC HWY 42

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