The American Red Cross relies on a network of volunteers to provide lifesaving blood products to patients in need. During National Volunteer Month in April, the Red Cross celebrates the selfless dedication of all heroes who make a difference – including blood and platelet donors, blood drive sponsors, and donor ambassadors like Sue Berg of Omaha, Neb.
MEET AN AMBASSADOR Every week, Berg lends her time as a Red Cross donor ambassador. Her warm smile greets those arriving at a community blood drive or local donation center. She registers blood donors at the beginning of their visit, or serves food and drinks to donors in the refreshment area after their appointments.
Berg began volunteering with the Red Cross in 2013. Her commitment to service deepened in 2014 after an electrical fire in her apartment building. Berg witnessed the compassionate power of volunteers from another perspective.
“The Red Cross was there almost immediately,” Berg said.
She escaped with only a coat, leaving the rest of her possessions behind in the increasing smoke and fire. A Red Cross volunteer hugged Berg as she cried, stunned by the loss of her home. The Red Cross provided a blanket, snacks and a hotel room for three nights.
“When you’re replacing everything, no one knows how hard it is until you go through it,” said Berg. “The Red Cross is awesome.”
Since the fire, Berg continues to offer comfort to others in her donor ambassador role. She enjoys meeting blood and platelet donors and interacting with fellow Red Cross staff.
“It’s an awesome opportunity and they’re great people to work with there,” Berg said. “It just makes you feel good to help out with an organization that is definitely needed.”
JOIN THE RED CROSS MISSION Sign up today to become a Red Cross donor ambassador and help promote the need for blood and platelet donations for patients battling illness and injury.
Individuals can also become blood and platelet donors to help ensure a reliable supply for patients in need. Schedule an appointment using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Eligible donors with types O, A negative and B negative blood are urged to make a Power Red donation, where available. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact.
VOLUNTEER THROUGH SLEEVESUP It only takes a few minutes to create a SleevesUp virtual blood drive online at redcrossblood.org/SleevesUp. Once a campaign is created, invite colleagues, friends and family to pledge their support by making an appointment to donate 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 nearby or simply want to do more can support a SleevesUp campaign by making a financial donation.
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 or platelets. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.