During National Volunteer Week, April 12-18, the American Red Cross celebrates everyday heroes who offer their time and talent to help those in their community. Without the generosity of countless volunteers, from blood donors to blood drive coordinators, the Red Cross would be unable to fulfill its lifesaving mission and help patients in need.
There are many ways to give back through Red Cross Blood Services. Here are two extraordinary individuals making a difference in helping save lives.
KAYLA, RED CROSS VOLUNTEER Kayla Evans is no average teenager. A senior at Douglas County High School, in Douglasville, Georgia, Kayla is part of the AmeriCorps program and provides her service at the Red Cross Douglasville facility. Kayla also supports campus blood drives through her school’s Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) club by serving as a donor ambassador, making blood drive announcements and volunteering at the drives.
“I like that everyone here is so passionate about the mission and service,” said Kayla. “Everyone I’ve worked with makes service so fun. I also love the fact that the Red Cross helps to save so many lives.”
Kayla knows just how meaningful the gift of life can be. She has two uncles and a cousin who live with hemophilia. “They are alive because of blood donors and the American Red Cross,” said Kayla. “I am so proud to be a volunteer here.”
KERI, RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVE COORDINATOR Keri Palmer, of Omaha, Nebraska, felt helpless when both her mother-in-law and stepmother were battling lung cancer several years ago. Since both family members received blood products as part of their treatments, Keri wanted to coordinate a blood drive in their honor. Her employer, AOI, agreed to be the host site. Five years later, Keri and her company continue hosting blood drives and helping save lives.
“It has made me really feel good knowing that what we are doing is helping save lives,” said Keri. “My co-workers know I have a passion to want to help and give back, as I do this in memory of two very special ladies that helped me become the woman I am today.”
HOSTING BLOOD DRIVES
Now is the time to become a blood drive coordinator. During the summer months of June, July and August, on average, about two fewer donors give blood at each Red Cross blood drive. This could add up to more than 100,000 fewer donations across the country during the summer and can directly impact hospitals and patients in need.
Volunteers are critical in helping meet the constant need for blood and by offering convenient opportunities for blood donors to give, the Red Cross can ultimately help save more lives. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org.
HOW TO VOLUNTEER
Sign up today to join their ranks as a Red Cross volunteer and be part of the lifesaving work at the Red Cross. There are many ways people can get involved, and the Red Cross is looking for diverse volunteers of all ages and skill levels. Individuals can go to redcross.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.
HOW TO DONATE BLOOD OR PLATELETS 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.