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Updated: Feb 20, 2021


The mister has been giving blood since he was in his twenties. These days he gives platelets.

He donates at least twice a month. Sometimes, if the Red Cross is having a shortage of his blood type they call him and he makes a special trip.

Most people probably do not think twice about how we bank blood, or who developed the procedures for collecting and storing blood products. Luckily, right around World War II, people were thinking about this pretty intensely.

Charles Richard Drew was born in Washington, DC in 1950 to a middle-class African American family. His father was a carpet layer, and his mother was trained as a teacher.

He was not a brilliant student when he was young, but he was an excellent athlete.

In 1922, Drew earned an athletic scholarship to Amherst College in Massachusetts. He was one of 13 African Americans in a school of 300. In his senior year, he was passed over for captain of the football team even though he was the best player.

As far as academics? He had no idea what he wanted to do until he took a biology class. It changed the entire course of his life. He decided to study medicine.

Unfortunately, there were very limited opportunities for black people interested in any science. Many of the programs in America wouldn't consider accepting a black student into their programs. His path to becoming a doctor was very narrow.

He did his graduate work at McGill University College of Medicine in Montreal, Canada. While he was at McGill, he won lots of prestigious awards, scholarships, and was on the staff of The McGill Medical Journal.

In 1933, Drew graduated second in his class of 137 earning his MD and CM (Mastery of Surgery) Degrees.

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