Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Gives $5.1M to American Red Cross

American Red Cross Divisional Vice President David Staszak donates blood in Fenton, Missouri, March 3, 2021. File photo: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 21, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is making a multi-million dollar donation to the American Red Cross.

The $5.1 million is designed to help ARC to meet blood and convalescent plasma needs for hospital patients, a statement issued by the LDS Church says. These include new machines and the collection and maintenance of blood platelets.

The gift will also help the organization’s sickle cell initiative. Sickle cell disease distorts soft and round red blood cells and turns them to hard, crescent-shaped cells. This can lead to extreme pain and serious health challenges. The project, launched in September 2021, aims to reach more blood donors who are Black because the majority of those with sickle cell are of African descent. Blood donations from Black people are critical to help those who suffer from sickle cell disease, the Church statement says.

“As an organization dedicated to alleviating suffering, the Red Cross is committed to the health and well-being of all communities, and a diverse blood supply is critical to improving health outcomes for all patients — especially those with sickle cell disease,” said Gail McGovern, CEO and president of the Red Cross, in a released statement. “We greatly appreciate the Church’s extremely generous donation and continued partnership in support of our lifesaving mission.”

“A closely matched blood product is critical for patients with sickle cell disease,” said Dr. Yvette Miller, executive medical director at the Red Cross. “Many individuals of African descent have distinct markers or structures on their red blood cells that make their donations the most compatible blood to help patients with sickle cell disease. While most patients can receive blood from a donor of any race or ethnic group, due to the presence of some unique red blood cells antigens shared by people of African descent, donations from individuals who are Black are more likely to provide better health outcomes for those fighting sickle cell disease.”

“We’re pleased to contribute over $5 million this year, but our most important contribution comes from our Church members — thousands of them — who have literally rolled up their sleeves to give blood and donate so much of their time,” said Gérald Caussé, Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Church of Jesus Christ and the American Red Cross have an association that dates to the late 19th century.

The Red Cross asks members of the Black community to help them meet the needs of patients with sickle cell disease and other medical conditions to improve health outcomes. This can be done by scheduling a blood donation appointment, downloading the Blood Donor App or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

As COVID-19 caused a downturn in blood donations throughout the United States in 2020, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints partnered with several blood collection organizations to provide lifesaving blood. File photo: 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.


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