Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD) is proud to culminate its celebration of Black History Month and the recognition of the lifesaving role Black and African American blood donors play in our community’s healthcare system.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity member William Garrett  with BBD leadership at the debut of the Dr. Charles Drew Lifesaver Award.

This year, with approval from Dr. Charles Drew’s grandson Kendall Price, MD, BBD is debuting the “Dr. Charles Drew Lifesaver Award.” The family is delighted to be a part of this annual recognition honoring a person, organization, or media entity (or any other appropriate BBD partner) who brings awareness to the need for a diverse blood supply and encourages the lifesaving act of blood donation during Black History Month and beyond.

On Thursday, February 29, 2024, BBD Executive Director Steve Corse presented the award to Omega Psi Phi Fraternity member William Garrett for his partnership and commitment to our lifesaving mission. Garrett created BBD’s Dr. Charles R. Drew Memorial Blood Drive in 2022 and recruited fellow Omega Psi Phi members to donate at the annual event. So far, the drive has recruited 36 donors in 2022 and 26 donors in 2023, with the third event currently scheduled for August.

The success of this blood drive campaign is largely attributed to Garrett, who is the blood drive coordinator for the drive. His passion and involvement, and commitment to saving lives, continue to be instrumental in growing the event.

Garrett is senior vice president of Global Clinical Operations and head of U.S. Business Operations for Ascentage Pharma. He lives in Middletown with his wife, Dr. Sharna Garrett, and their children.

Garrett thanked Blood Bank of Delmarva, Omega Psi Phi, Gamma Mu Nu Chapter and to Dr. Drew’s grandson, Dr. Kendall Price, for this award.

Award recipient and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity member William Garrett

“We plan to make this August’s effort the biggest ever,” he said. “You may have known that Dr. Drew was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and it was our organization that made the call three years ago to go out into the world, with a bulldog like tenacity, and effect change, positive change. About half a dozen of my fraternity brothers and I came to the Christiana Donor Center to donate blood, and after getting to know BBD a little more we decided to hold our own blood drive that served an underrepresented part of the community – our community. That said, we have more work to do, so let’s make the numbers continue go to up in 2024 and beyond.”

BBD Medical Director Dr. Bruce Sachais and Director of Laboratories Kristin Frederick said the Omega Psi Phi blood drives have benefited BBD greatly.

“Matching of blood types often goes beyond the ABO types we all know about,” Dr. Sachais said.  “This matching is particularly important for multiply transfused patients, such as those with Sickle Cell Disease.  Having sufficient diversity in our donors is critical to be able to allow this matching to occur.”

Added Frederick, ”Due to the efforts of Mr. Garrett and those of Omega Psi Phi at the most recent blood drive, we were able to identify 22 donors who were matches for our Sickle Cell patients. Of those 22 donors, nine of them are considered a rare phenotype that we are frequently asked to provide for sickle cell patients. Just think about the patients who are living better lives now as a result of these donors!”

Further down south in the Delmarva Peninsula, BBD also culminated its celebration of Black History Month with a successful blood drive at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) on February 20. BBD partnered with UMES and the Eastern Shore of Maryland Sickle Cell Disease Association for a blood drive that brought in 28 donors, including enthusiastic students and staff who were thrilled to make a difference in diversifying the blood supply and saving lives.

Presentation of the Dr. Charles Drew Lifesaver Award
Professor Collin Byrd, Donor
Alanna Green, Donor
Jordan Howard, Donor
Londyn Davis & Brooklyn Davis, Donors
Jasmine McKinnie, Donor
Bill Garrett interviewed by the media
Keyshaun Ray, Donor