On February 24, 2023, the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation hosted the inaugural Lloyd Newman Blood Drive and Discussion of Sickle Cell Disease. The event was a huge success, thanks to the co-sponsorship and participation of the American Red Cross, Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois, National Pan-Hellenic Council of Chicago, and the CTU Human Rights Committee. The blood drive brought in 37 donations with the potential to save 111 lives.
This blood drive honored Lloyd Newman, a CPS graduate and a co-author of “Our America” who recently passed away as a result of sickle cell in his mid-40s. It also honored the pioneering work of Dr. Charles Drew, the first Black person to receive a doctor of medicine degree from Columbia University. Dr. Drew did pioneering work to build the first blood banks as well as spearheaded protests against the racist and unscientific segregation of blood according to the race of the donor.
The thought-provoking panel discussion on the science and treatment of Sickle Cell Disease highlighted the need for awareness as well as the often invisible impact of this disease on Black youth.
If you’re an educator, you may want to consider using all or part of the video in your class.
The panel discussion featured the following distinguished speakers:
- Carmen Perry, American Red Cross Outreach Coordinator for Illinois, addressed why blood drives are so critically important.
- W. Terrell Burgess, principal of Westinghouse High School and parent of a child diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia, spoke about the impact of this disease on his family and why it’s so important for educators to know about sickle cell.
- Talana Hughes, Executive Director at Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois and a parent of Children diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia, talked about how many people have outdated information and why there’s a need for additional funding to conduct outreach and education in affected communities.
- Dr. Liem, Lurie’s Children Hospital – Interim Division Head, Hematology, Oncology, Neuro-Oncology & Stem Cell Transplantation; Section Head, Hematology; Director, Comprehensive Sickle Cell Program; Associate Chair for Ambulatory Services, Department of Pediatrics; A. Watson and Sarah Armour Professorship in Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases Professor of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Liem talked about the science of Sickle Cell Disease and new developments in treatment and pain management options.
Our intent is to make the Lloyd Newman Blood Drive an annual event during Black History Month, so be on the lookout for information about next year’s event, you won’t want to miss it!