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Each year on the first Saturday in June, Pi Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., in conjunction with the Blood Center of the Carolinas, holds the Annual Dr. Charles R. Drew Community Blood Drive and Health Fair.

This blood drive is said to be the second-largest in the Charlotte area, behind one hosted by the Carolina Panthers. Each year, lifesaving blood plasma is donated to benefit the citizens of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Donor numbers vary, but Pi Phi Chapter’s blood drive consistently collects between 80 and100 units of usable blood plasma, which is used in operating rooms, emergency rooms, blood transfusions and to help in the treatment of diseases that affect African-Americans disproportionately – diseases such as sickle cell anemia, heart disease and kidney disease.

The impact cannot be overstated, because African-Americans donate blood at a much lower rate than their white counterparts.

The blood drive also doubles as a health fair, where donors are screened for high blood pressure, diabetes and body-mass index. When detected early, diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure can be treated and, in most cases, controlled with medication, diet and exercise.

Some of the organizations that volunteer personnel and resources are C.W. Williams Community Health Center, NOVANT Health, and PACE of Southern Piedmont. Pi Phi Chapter also uses this as an opportunity to partner with other Greek lettered organizations. One such organization is the Alpha Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., which each year provides volunteers to support the blood drive.

The event is named after an Omega man — Dr. Charles R. Drew. He was a world-renowned physician, scientist and inventor who developed the process of separating and dehydrating blood plasma so that it could be stored for later use. His discovery was first used during World War II, saving thousands of lives. Today, his groundbreaking research has saved millions and impacted the science of medicine, blood plasma and blood transfusions.

Pi Phi Chapter is one of the largest chapters in Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., boasting well over 300 members. Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. is a fraternal and service-oriented organization, founded in 1911 on the campus of Howard University. Its motto is “Friendship is Essential to the Soul.”

The fraternity has chapters worldwide, each charged with impacting its community in a positive way. Pi Phi Chapter continues the legacy of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. by producing community service projects such as the Dr. Charles R. Drew Community Blood Drive and Health Fair and countless other service projects.

Pi Phi Chapter’s Basileus (President) is Rayshion Sashington.