By Eilene Guy, American Red Cross volunteer
December 18, 2019- Picture yourself at the wheel of a custom vehicle, tooling down the road to the admiring glances of your fellow motorists.
If you’re a Cuyahoga County resident with a compassionate heart and a good driving record, the American Red Cross is eager to put you behind the wheel of a sparkling white van with the distinctive red cross boldly on each side.
Volunteers are needed to drive specially equipped transport vans from blood collection sites around Northeast Ohio to the Red Cross blood processing center in Cleveland. There, blood is tested and prepared for accident victims; moms and newborns in difficult deliveries; surgery patients; and men, women and children who rely on transfusions for a healthy life.
On average, the Red Cross Northern Ohio blood services region collects 500 pints of blood daily across 19 counties, from Erie County on the west to the Pennsylvania border on the east and Tuscarawas County on the south.
Meanwhile, life-sustaining whole blood and its components – platelets, plasma, white cells and red cells – go out constantly to patients in 50 local hospitals. Red blood cells must be used within 42 days and platelets within five days, so prompt, reliable transportation is key.
“This volunteer opportunity is a vital link between generous blood donors and those whose lives depend on that blood,” said Melanie Collins, who helps recruit volunteers for the Red Cross throughout northeast Ohio.
The biomedical activity of the Red Cross is at the very heart of the organization’s mission, “to prevent and alleviate human suffering … by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors,” she noted.
For more information and to apply for a transportation specialist position, visit www.redcrossorg/volunteer. To view more photos of the ribbon cutting and blood drive at the Erie County Community Foundation offices in Sandusky, visit our photo album here. Photo credit: Cali Griggs/American Red Cross volunteer.