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American Red Cross and 9/11 Day partner to help save lives

Leroy Straight averages 20-24 visits per year to the Donor Center to give platelets.

Partnership designed to engage blood donors, volunteers and youth to honor those lost throughout the upcoming year

WASHINGTON D.C. - September 2, 2015 — The American Red Cross joins 9/11 Day to encourage individuals to help others and commemorate the events of Sept. 11 by giving blood or platelets or volunteering their time throughout the month of September and beyond. Volunteer donors of all blood types – especially those with types AB, O negative, A negative and B negative – and platelet donors are needed.

9/11 Day is the nation’s largest annual day of charitable engagement. David Paine and Jay Winuk launched 9/11 Day in 2002 as an annual day of service to honor the victims and heroes of 9/11. In 2009, the federal government designated Sept. 11 as an annual “National Day of Service and Remembrance.” Each year tens of millions of people observe Sept. 11 by performing acts of service and good deeds.

“The Red Cross is proud to partner with 9/11 Day and encourage people to give blood and volunteer to commemorate this anniversary, while making a profound contribution to community preparedness leading up to the 15th anniversary next year,” said Donna M. Morrissey, director of national partnerships, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “We hope to engage blood donors, volunteers and our youth in this 9/11 Day partnership to honor those lost by helping others to survive.”

Honoring Those We Lost Winuk lost his brother in the 9/11 attacks. Glenn J. Winuk, an attorney who worked in downtown Manhattan, served as a volunteer firefighter and EMT for almost 20 years. After helping evacuate the nearby Holland & Knight law offices at which he was a partner, Glenn raced to the World Trade Center’s south tower to participate in rescue efforts. Glenn was lost in the line of duty when that tower collapsed.

“This annual observance increasingly resonates with people with each passing year, for the benefit of countless people and communities in need, and that’s surely gratifying,” said Jay S. Winuk, co-founder of 9/11 Day. “Those who participate are making a real difference. The Red Cross is an ideal partner to engage people to step forward, and we’re confident that blood donors, volunteers and organizations will answer this call for help while honoring the heroes of 9/11.”

Engaging Youth in Volunteerism Nine-year-old Belle Maye Irby of Arkansas is traveling to New York to learn more about 9/11 and how her elementary school can get involved in this effort to help others in need. She will share her learning with her fourth grade class and together they will learn how they can host their own Red Cross community blood drive in April during the anniversary of tornadoes that swept through their community.

“It is important for kids to do good things and help the community, and I look forward to learning more about 9/11 Day and how something so bad can turn into something so good through all of our efforts,” said Ms. Irby, student Red Cross volunteer.

Paying it Forward Sept. 11 survivors Maura and Bob Heidcamp of Plymouth, Massachusetts, are among those who have become regular Red Cross blood donors following 9/11. Maura was on the 55th floor of the north tower for a business meeting when the building was struck. Her husband, Bob, had been sightseeing and rushed back to the World Trade Center searching for his wife. Hours later they were reunited at a Red Cross emergency relief center and were able to call home to let their families know they survived.

The Heidcamps have donated blood every year since 2003 as their special way of demonstrating the continued perseverance and generosity of the American spirit in the face of unimaginable adversity. Their daughter, Jaycee, will join her parents this year in supporting the Red Cross and blood collections.

Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. As the nation’s single largest supplier of blood products, the Red Cross relies on 15,000 blood donations every day to meet the needs of hospital patients in about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. Giving blood or platelets in honor of 9/11 Day will help the Red Cross fulfill that mission.

Those who would like to observe the “9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance” by donating blood or platelets are encouraged to visit redcrossblood.org to find a donation opportunity. Those who are unable to donate but would still like to give back can also volunteer their time with the Red Cross or create a SleevesUp virtual blood drive at redcrossblood.org/sleevesup.

How to donate blood Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some 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.

Contact: Public Affairs Desk, Telephone: (202) 303-5551. FOR MEDIA ONLY

About 9/11 Day

9/11 Day is the largest annual day of charitable engagement in the United States. Each year tens of millions of Americans and people in many other countries observe September 11 by performing good deeds that help others. The goal of 9/11 Day is to keep alive the spirit of unity and compassion that arose in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, providing a positive, helpful way for people to annually remember and pay tribute to the 9/11 victims, and honor those that rose in service in response to the attacks. 9/11 Day encourages everyone to observe 9/11 this year by joining together to help people and communities in need, and working more closely to make our world better and more peaceful. For more information, visit 911day.org or email info@911day.org.

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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.