Family and helping others are just two of the things Red Cross Southeast & Caribbean Vice-President, Anna Trefethen is most passionate about. So, it’s no surprise that her connection to the Red Cross began with her mother in the 1990s. Anna recalls her mother’s battle with cancer and the frequent transfusions of blood and platelets she needed to replenish her strength and get through the chemotherapy treatments. This connection is something that motivates her service to the organization and is one of the reasons she donates blood.
“Donations were more convenient when I worked in the building.” Anna recalls of her early years with the Red Cross, “I would just go on my lunch break”. When Anna moved to Florida, she learned that blood donations required more free time and planning. Since the 90’s, there has only been a short gap in time in which Anna could not donate due to the frequent business travel. However, she still made donating a priority when she could.
On August 13, 2019, having scheduled her appointment using RapidPass, Anna visited the Hoover donation center in Shelby County to roll up her sleeve and participate in the Employee Blood Donation challenge for her division. Anna admitted that she still gets a bit nervous when she donates but those jitters quickly subside when she considers the people in need of her blood right now. “Giving blood is so important, just one pint can save three lives” when asked what she hopes her blood will be used for she added, “I hope that my CMV negative blood will be used to help babies and children in need.” According to the Red Cross, CMV or Cytomegalovirus is a virus that is not harmful to healthy adults and is found in more than half the population. Donors that have not been exposed to the virus have CMV negative blood, which is important for patients with weakened or underdeveloped immune systems like babies and children.
Throughout her years of service, Anna has established relationships with donors, employees and volunteers. Donating blood provides her with the perfect opportunity to catch-up with old friends and share some good laughs. Anna is appreciative of the staff at the Hoover location for making her donation a pleasant and memorable experience– Larenza (Phlebotomist), in particular. The cookies, sandwiches, and drinks made available in the hospitality area were an added bonus. Anna will continue to donate blood and save lives for many years to come.
The American Red Cross provides roughly 40% of the United States’ blood and blood components. Blood is the first line of defense against many diseases and tragic accidents. Donating blood is an easy way to make a big difference to someone else. It’s something many people can spare, yet there often isn’t enough to go around for all the people who need blood. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. By donating regularly, your blood will help ensure that there is enough on the shelf when it’s needed. Just one donation can save up to three lives.
To donate, you must be at least 16 years old (17 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 lbs and be in good general health. Everyone goes through a mini-physical and medical history before the donation, and snacks, water and juice are provided after. The entire process takes about one hour. If you’re interested in finding an upcoming blood drive near you or learning more about how to host a blood drive, visit www.redcrossblood.org, download the Red Cross blood App or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.