The “Dr. Charles Drew Lifesaver Award” is an annual recognition awarded to a RIBC partner who brings awareness to the need for diverse blood donations

NBC 10’s Barbara Morse at the “Dr. Charles Drew Lifesaver Award ceremony.

RHODE ISLAND – Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC) recently awarded NBC 10’s Barbara Morse with the “Dr. Charles Drew Lifesaver Award” on February 19, 2024 at 1:00 pm at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick (801 Greenwich Ave, Warwick, RI, 02886) in honor of Black History Month. This presentation took place during the annual February NBC 10 blood drive, which saw over 300 presenting donors.  

The “Dr. Charles Drew Lifesaver Award” is a new annual recognition for a RIBC partner who brings awareness to the need for diverse blood donors. Dr. Charles Drew is known as one of the founders of modern blood banking. He was the first African American to earn a Doctor of Medical Science degree and went on to work as a physician, surgeon, and researcher. Dr. Drew’s work during World War II helped medics save thousands of Allied forces’ lives and led to the technology and practices used by the nation’s first blood banks and bloodmobiles.

NBC 10 has been a longtime partner of RIBC since the 1990s. The station’s blood drive program has collected more than 20,000 blood donations and they host regular blood drives throughout the year, often during the most critical time periods when help is needed the most. Barbara also works to raise awareness through her countless news stories, while also being a donor herself and highlighting how easy it is to save lives on her social media platforms.  

Diverse donations are critical for patients who require specific blood types for transfusions. Patients with sickle cell disease, an inherited red cell disorder that is most common among African Americans, require very closely matched blood products because their bodies make antibodies directed towards transfused red blood cells. This disease affects over 100 thousand people across the U.S. and over 300 Rhode Islanders, making a diverse blood supply critical for the region’s overall public health.

“We are grateful to NBC 10 and Barbara Morse for their partnership and commitment to not only highlighting the constant need for blood donors, but also the need for a genetically diverse blood supply so we can better serve local patients and hospitals,” said Caitlin Grimaldi-Flick, Marketing and Communications Manager with Rhode Island Blood Center. “This Black History Month, we are honoring the incredible life of Dr. Charles Drew, who was known as the ‘Father of Blood Banking’ and saved countless lives with his innovative work and advocacy. We are proud to present Barbara with this year’s Dr. Charles Drew Lifesaver Award, a distinction that is extremely well deserved.”