HAMPTON, Va. - Give blood and save a life.
On Wednesday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the American Red Cross is hosting a blood drive at the Hampton Coliseum.
The drive comes at a time when donations are down due to the pandemic and after winter storms forced the closure of numerous blood drives in Virginia last month.
Michelle Ellis Young, Executive Director for American Red Cross of Coastal Virginia, tells News 3 large spaces like the Coliseum are crucial during the pandemic because they allow for social distancing and for donors and staff to feel at ease.
While partner organizations have helped recover lost drives from February, she says, there's still a need for minority blood donors.
"Many people don't know, but this area that we call 'Coastal Virginia' provides approximately 46 percent of the diverse blood for the commonwealth of Virginia. When that blood count here drops, when those donations drop here, it has a substantial impact across our commonwealth," said Ellis Young.
The impact is particularly felt among patients battling sickle cell disease, according to Ellis Young, who says many of whom are Black or Hispanic and need frequent blood transfusions. Blood from Black and Hispanic donors best matches the needs of sickle cell patients.
The Coastal Virginia chapter of the American Red Cross is in the middle of a campaign called the "Diverse Blood Donor Awareness & Education Series."
"You are helping to fill the gap for someone who might be in desperate need," said Ellis Young.
To register for the blood drive at Hampton Coliseum or a drive close to you, visit redcrossblood.org.