Volunteer finds role that allows her to give back to her community during pandemic

By Olivia Wyles, American Red Cross volunteer

October 15, 2020- In the last four months, the Northern Ohio region of the American Red Cross has welcomed Lucy Anne Christopher, a Cleveland native, to our team as a Blood Donor Ambassador. Lucy Anne is no stranger to volunteerism. Before she began serving with the Red Cross, she has humbly taken on other opportunities to give back to the community, including her role with the Ronald McDonald House where she carries out activities for patients and their families. She serves as a “red coat volunteer” at PlayHouse Square Theater and also tutors adults in reading and other subjects. 

Lucy Anne Christopher

When the coronavirus pandemic made its mark on the United States in March 2020, Lucy Anne’s involvement began to change. Her roles at PlayHouse Square and the Ronald McDonald House were both put on hold but Lucy Anne still wanted to be involved and help her community. She was no longer able to tutor her students at the local library, so she began conducting reading exercises over the phone with her students. In June, she took on the role as a Blood Donor Ambassador with the Red Cross.

As a Blood Donor Ambassador, Lucy Anne takes the temperatures of each person who comes in to donate blood, checks them in and out of the computer system, and interacts with donors, ensuring that they have a positive experience. Lucy Anne explained that it’s a very simple role, but it makes a big difference in maintaining the seamless flow of blood donors in and out of the blood drive and provides relief to those drawing blood so that they can focus on their direct tasks rather than needing to also check people in. Lucy Anne reflected that she does not feel at risk of contracting the virus in her role because there is a high level of cleanliness and safety measures in place at the Red Cross blood drives that make her feel comfortable performing her role.

Lucy Anne is a fantastic example of how we all have the capability to make a change, big or small, in the communities where we live. She said, “I volunteer because I think it’s important to give back. There are so many areas that have a need, and you can always find an avenue to serve in that is compatible with your current lifestyle.” The Red Cross collects and distributes approximately 40% of the United States’ blood supply. Our Blood Donor Ambassadors play a big part in creating a positive donation experience for our donors. There is a great need for volunteers as we navigate the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. If you are interested in becoming a Blood Donor Ambassador in your area, click here to learn more and apply

If you want to meet Lucy Anne and the other wonderful Blood Donor Ambassadors in Northern Ohio, while providing lifesaving blood to those in need, you can schedule your blood donation today. The need for blood never stops, even during this COVID-19 pandemic. Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to ensure the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.

Healthy individuals who are feeling well are asked to make an appointment to donate in the weeks and months ahead by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Student volunteers encourage blood donations

By Beth Bracale, American Red Cross communications volunteer

I’m a new teacher at Lakeside High School in Ashtabula, Ohio, and I discovered that some of my students volunteer at our American Red Cross blood drives. They’re held four times a year, the most recent being the last day of school before Thanksgiving break. Student volunteer Yuliana Padilla Rios pointed out that one unit of donated blood can potentially help three different people. That means all the students and staff who donated blood that Tuesday gave many families reason to give thanks!

I asked Iris Arrieta Ortiz, a senior at LHS, why she volunteers. She said it gives her the chance to help others help those in need. When she and her friends register donors at the event, they explain the process and let people know what to expect. They assure new donors there’s nothing to worry about. Everyone is well taken care of – and they even get snacks! The students encourage anyone at school who is 16 or older to donate.

Ainniz and Iris

Ainniz Millan Ithier, left, and Iris Arrieta Ortiz staff the registration table

This event was Ainniz Millan Ithier’s first time volunteering at a blood drive. She said she would definitely do so again. She and her fellow volunteers hope to inspire others to participate in the next event. Yuliana and Iris said being able to scan the new Ohio driver licenses made registration even easier. All agreed that the Red Cross team members who came to the school were great to work with, and it’s a plus to be able to do community service right at school.

Angelina Isco

Student volunteer Angelina Isco

If you would like to help blood donors at blood drives as a volunteer donor ambassador, visit our website by clicking here.

For information about holding a blood drive at your school or to find a donation event in your area, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross communications volunteer

Photo credit: Lakeside High School