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A Young Mother and Breast Cancer Survivor Urges Blood Donations

Johnetta Goolsby spoke at the Annual Minority Recruitment Luncheon hosted by the Red Cross Southern Region in Atlanta.

Mother’s Day celebrates the strong and loving women who influence our lives. In honor of these women, the American Red Cross encourages eligible individuals to make an appointment to donate blood and platelets. This generous, lifesaving gift helps millions of patients in need – including an inspirational young mother named Johnetta Goolsby of Conyers, Georgia.

A SPECIAL MOTHER’S DAY At age 22, Goolsby was a busy mom to 1-year-old Peyton and training to become a phlebotomist when life suddenly turned upside down. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and immediately began a treatment plan including a double mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy.

“My daughter was and still is my biggest motivation to not give up and not let cancer win,” said Goolsby. “Mother’s Day 2016 means even more to me than my first year, because no matter the changes I went through my babygirl loved me no less.”

Battling cancer, the critical need for blood and platelets hit close to home for Goolsby.

“When I came out of surgery my doctors and family mentioned that I looked like a ghost, because during my surgery I lost a tremendous amount of blood,” said Goolsby. “(B)ecause of the American Red Cross employees, volunteers, sponsors, and donors I am here today. If it weren't for the American Red Cross supplying that hospital with donor blood, I don't know where I would be!”

Goolsby completed her final chemotherapy treatment in early April 2016. Today, she serves on the Red Cross Southern Region’s Minority Recruitment Advisory Board and volunteers her time to promote blood and platelet donations.

“Give blood to save someone like me, give blood to save a child, give blood to save a newborn, give to save the life of a new mom so she can be with her child,” encouraged Goolsby. “Give! Give! Give! Be part of someone’s lifesaving team!”

PROVIDE A LIFESAVING GIFT Each day, the Red Cross needs to collect approximately 14,000 blood donations for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.

To make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, download the Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

Whole blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in most states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Platelet donors can roll up a sleeve every seven days, up to 24 times year. Platelets must be transfused within five days of donation. It’s important that eligible platelet donors give as often as possible to help ensure this potentially lifesaving blood product is available for patients whenever and wherever needed.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit and follow the instructions on the site.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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