Rock, Roll, and Ride with the Red Cross this World Blood Donor Day

By Tim Poe, American Red Cross volunteer

June 14th is World Blood Donor Day, and the American Red Cross Can’t Help giving blood donors a chance to get All Shook Up, whether rocking and rolling with the legacy of Elvis at Graceland or on rides at Cedar Point.

The World Health Organization (WHO) created World Blood Donor Day to raise global awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products for transfusion, highlight the critical contribution of volunteer blood donors to national health systems, and help support and expand blood donor organizations’ programs. The WHO states, “Becoming a regular voluntary blood donor is a simple but selfless step that everyone can take to strengthen their communities, support local health systems and save lives.”

The Red Cross, which supplies about 40% of the U.S. blood supply, typically sees a drop in blood donations during the summer, but the need for blood does not take a break. On average, someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds, including new moms, premature babies, cancer patients and accident victims. Each day, the Red Cross needs to collect about 12,500 blood donations to meet the needs of patients at about 2,500 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.

And blood donors can now celebrate providing the gift of life with roller coasters and rock and roll!

In addition to helping save lives, through August 4th, generous blood donors at select blood drives in Northern Ohio will receive a free ticket to Cedar Point, while supplies last. To find a blood drive with this promotion, enter sponsor code “CEDARPOINT” when searching here or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

And throughout the U.S., the Red Cross is celebrating Elvis Presley–a blood donor himself who left a legacy of generosity and community service–rock and roll, and the new film, Elvis, with a chance to win a VIP trip for two to Memphis and Graceland! Through June 30th, those who come in to give blood will be automatically entered for a chance to win the trip, which includes round-trip airfare for two to Memphis, a three-night stay at The Guest House at Graceland and Elvis Entourage VIP tour, courtesy of Graceland, and $500 gift card for expenses, plus a custom-wrapped Gibson Epiphone guitar! Blood donors will also be sent a $5 e-gift card to a merchant of their choice. More information and terms and conditions are here.

Please visit redcrossblood.org to find a local blood drive. A blood donor app is also available, which makes it easy for donors to schedule and manage appointments, track the lifetime impact of donations, view health history information, and earn rewards. It is available at the above website, texting BLOODAPP to 90999, or searching “American Red Cross” in app stores.

Please help celebrate the gift of life, summer fun, the spirit of rock and roll, Elvis, and World Blood Donor Day by scheduling a donation. And thank you, thank you very much.

Meeting the challenges of Northeast Ohio Weather – May edition

Even before the storm clouds rolled over the radar screen, the hub at the Red Cross in Cleveland was readying its response to the coming storm.

On Monday, while the wind and rain howled throughout the region, members of our disaster response team began to initiate the first stages of the plan. Red Cross workers began the work of setting up a shelter for the residents of North Ridgeville, who had to be evacuated by boats due to the rising flood waters.

Summit and Portage County Board Member, Leonard Foster, loads a clean-up kit at the chapter.

Summit and Portage County Board Member, Leonard Foster, loads a clean-up kit at the chapter.

As the sun rose on Tuesday volunteers and staff were loading up the Red Cross vehicles to begin the process of observing, collecting, assessing, processing and recording information on each affected areas. The information obtained in this assessment helps the Red Cross determine how to respond to a disaster and what supplies will be required.

Our process starts with an area assessment and then moves to looking at individual homes to see what specific damage has been wrought by the storm – checking water levels in the basement or living space of a home and seeing if it is still inhabitable.

In the case of one Stow area family, where a basement wall had collapsed allowing mud and debris to slide into the home, we were able to help start the process of repairing the wall so that they will be able to stay in their home.

The Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) loaded with bleach and buckets donated by Home Depot, May 2014

The Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) loaded with bleach and buckets donated by Home Depot, May 2014

In other areas of Summit, Medina and Lorain Counties, we provided residents with clean-up kits containing disinfectant, a mop, a bucket and information about how to begin cleaning up the mess the storm and water had left in their homes. In some areas, we also passed out bleach, a donation from Home Depot.

If you are still looking for information on how to clean your basement, check out this link to our Repairing your Flooded Home booklet.

Back in North Ridgeville, we loaded up our Emergency Response Vehicle and set out through the streets, providing food to the residents who were there making their own assessments of the damage to their properties.

We cannot say enough to praise the many volunteers who left their own flooded basements to help other members in their community and in neighboring counties. If you are interested in joining their ranks, you can get started as a volunteer by signing up through our website.

If you would like to financially contribute to the clean-up effort, please visit www.redcross.org/donate or contact your local chapter.