Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. It might be a family member or friend. It might be a complete stranger. It might be someone like Meighan Johansen.
A mother, wife, sister, friend and special needs educator, Meighan was known for her generosity, her positivity and her passion for life. Meighan passed away of cervical cancer two years ago this month. She was just 29 years old. Transfusions of blood and platelets from American Red Cross donors are often a critical component of treatment for those fighting cancer. They were for Meighan.
HOPE IN MEMORY OF MEIGHAN This month, Meighan’s family and friends are hosting a second annual HOPE blood drive in her memory. In addition to the local blood drive on February 21 in Papillion, Nebraska, individuals anywhere in the country can donate in Meighan’s memory through her SleevesUp virtual blood drive until the end of the month.
“When our friend was in need of blood during her fight with cancer, she was able to get what she needed,” said Meighan’s friend Carissa Husbands. “As a group, we began giving blood together and quickly realized we could be doing more. We want to make sure that we honor her life by making sure those still fighting their battles have what they need.”
SleevesUp is a first-of-its-kind website that lets those who feel passionate about blood donation create a virtual blood drive and encourage colleagues, friends and family members to give blood or platelets, or make a financial donation to support their campaign. SleevesUp campaigns allow people to honor someone’s life, celebrate a special occasion or simply bring others together to help save lives – any time of the year – regardless of location.
“The way Meighan lived her life, especially how strong she was up until the end, inspires us every single day,” said Husbands. “She gave all of us hope throughout her battle, and now it is our turn to give a little hope back.”
HOW TO DONATE Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be given every seven days – up to 24 times a year. 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.
For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org. Donors can also use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, which is free and available for download now. It can be found in app stores by searching for American Red Cross, visiting redcross.org/apps or redcrossblood.org/bloodapp, or by texting BLOODAPP to 90999 for a direct link to download. Message and data rates for texting may apply.
SLEEVESUP CAMPAIGNS To learn more about SleevesUp campaigns, visit redcrossblood.org/SleevesUp. A SleevesUp virtual blood drive can be created in just a few minutes. Once a campaign is created, others can pledge their support immediately by making an appointment to donate blood or platelets at a blood drive or donation center convenient for them. Those who are not eligible to give blood, do not have a Red Cross blood donation opportunity near them or simply want to do more can also support a SleevesUp campaign by making a financial donation to Red Cross Blood Services.