Meet Susan Hinrichs, a native of California, and an American Red Cross volunteer since 2014, who volunteers between six and 50 hours each month. She describes herself as a Wonder Woman, Mama-Bear, Energizer Bunny and Superman’s wife!
Susan can also add one more important title to that list: Blood Donor Ambassador. As a Blood Donor Ambassador volunteer, Susan volunteers at local Red Cross blood drives and ensures that blood donors have a fulfilling experience, from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave. Susan enjoys her role as a Blood Donor Ambassador and says her favorite place to be is in a high school gym where the youthful energy flows and she can encourage young people donating blood. Her mission is to make the blood donation experience easy and pleasant for them, and to motivate them to become life-long donors. She also shares with her family and friends how important the Red Cross mission is to her.
When asked what she would say to someone who is not sure if they should donate blood, Susan says, “I tell people that their blood donation is an act of love that they would want for their loved ones if they were ever in need.”
For Susan, blood donation is deeply personal. “My son Scotty found out he was going to die from cancer when he was 18 years old. He made it his mission to see that his parents carried on his legacy of ‘Acts of Kindness & Paying It Forward.’ He faced his death with a sense of great hope that good things would come from his passion to help others,” says Susan. “My greatest joy comes from hearing people say that they feel as though they have met him when I share about him. He was wise beyond his years and truly made everyone around him feel loved. He was always a ‘Huggable Ambassador of Love!’”
When asked if she could name a Red Cross hero, Susan answered, “It would be my husband, Roy. He donates his blood even though doing so makes him very emotional because he is reminded of all the times our son needed blood.”
What Susan endured gave her a new perspective, enlightenment and passion for volunteering her time, helping and encouraging others to donate blood and to appreciate life. “I would love to be a part of a change that would bring stories like my son’s into direct contact with blood donors so they could feel an emotional connection to those they help,” says Susan.
Susan and her husband, Roy, are keeping the promise they made to their son by performing acts of kindness. To honor her son’s legacy, the Scotty-Bear Project was established to ensure continued acts of loving-kindness and caring connections to honor the life he lived. When she’s not volunteering, Susan likes to travel and has been to China and Israel. Her favorite vacation place is at the top of Mammoth Mountain, where her son’s ashes were spread, and where they made some of their happiest memories together.
To learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer, please visit redcross.org/volunteer. To make an appointment to donate blood to help hospital patients, visit RedCrossBlood.org. To learn more about the Scotty Bear Project, please click here.