More Than Just Blood-Experiences at a Blood Drive

On July 9th I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Six Flags Super Blood Drive at the Big E along with a fellow Youth Programs Intern, Sarah Braverman. Together, we decided to share our experiences from the drive.

Sarah Bessette: I had attended and seen a few blood drives before, but this one was very impressive. From the moment you step into the Better Living Center, a Red Cross Volunteer greets you with a smile, guides you through the process, and sends you to the next station. From the colored wrist bands, to the Looney Toon characters for each donation booth, the organization and flow of the event is incredible. The donors feel comfortable and welcomed.

Going to an event like that, you can’t help but want to give in some way. Whether it’s through actually giving blood, or sitting at the registration desk, each part of the event helps to change and save lives. It was motivating to see the people lining up to donate blood. As a volunteer you get to interact with so many of these people. Some have been giving for years, and others it’s their first time. Some are outgoing, and some hardly speak at all. One was in shock that people actually volunteer their time to help with the drive. Another had volunteered with the Red Cross before. Every donor is different, yet all unified under the same gratification that they helped to save a life. Knowing that is what makes my volunteer experience the most satisfying.

Sarah Braverman: The Big E hosted a Six Flags Super Blood Drive on July 9th, and what an experience it was! The Better Living Center was filled with Red Cross Volunteers and blood donors of all ages and all ready to donate, starting early in the morning to late at night. What I thought was most impressive was how the system was organized. A donor would walk in and be greeted by a Red Cross Volunteer and informed on our regulations and policies for donating blood. The donors were given a colored wrist band that matched a sign at each donation station with a Looney Toon character. Donors had the option to donate whole blood or just red blood cells. After a background check and their donation, each donor went to one of about eight refreshment station, relaxed and socialized with the many other donors.

I volunteered at the “Sylvester the Cat” station greeting people and recording who came in to donate. I had never seen so many donors all in one place at one time. While I was volunteering, I got to meet other volunteers and donors of various backgrounds. Everyone had a story to tell: what brought them to working for the Red Cross, what brought them there that day to donate, how long they have been volunteering or donating, the stories were never ending. What left the longest impact on me was to see all these people, no matter how hard life had been to them, taking the time out of their lives to give to someone they may never meet. Someone with stories they may never hear. Being surrounded by these good Samaritans revived my feelings of enthusiasm and optimism in the charity work I do. Every little thing you do that’s for the benefit of someone else is time well spent.

As you can see, there is so much more to a blood drive than just blood. Its about the donors you meet, the volunteer stories you hear, and the experiences made that create the difference.

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Roll up your sleeves in Worcester today

Want to win a pair of Red Sox tickets? Join the American Red Cross of Massachusetts on today at a Blood Drive in our Worcester Chapter Office and you could be going to a game!

All donors will receive a coupon for a free lunch pack from Cumberland Farms.   Donors will also be registered to win a pair of Red Sox tickets and be honored as the Blood Donor of the Game!

Don’t miss your chance to win!  Walk-ins welcome.

Monday, May 5, 9AM-2PM

American Red Cross Chapter Office

2000 Century Drive, Worcester, MA

-Kristen Catanzano

Don’t miss it! Red Cross on City Line this weekend

VND & DMPlans this weekend? Cancel ’em and get in front of your TV.

Tune into WCVB’s City Line to catch Chief Development Officer Valerie Navy Daniels and Donna Morrissey, Communications Director of Blood Services, talk about Red Cross efforts during the Boston Marathon.

What:  April 13, 2014: Boston Strong: The one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombings is quickly approaching and Boston has proven that it is stronger than ever. Numerous organizations have continued to help those impacted by the marathon violence. Valerie and Donna re-live their experiences from last year and how people can prepare for a new year of celebration.

Where: WCVB

When: Sunday, April 13, 12 p.m.

Why: The American Red Cross of Massachusetts is supporting the community in a variety of ways during the bombing anniversary and Marathon Monday. With mental health support, blood drives and  a strong volunteer presence, we stand together, Boston Strong.

 

 

 

Top Ten Valentine’s Day Tidbits from the Red Cross

Yes, it is back again- another Valentine’s Day for the books. If you’re like me (a complete procrastinator who also considers herself an extraordinary planner) you’re still struggling to think of that perfect gift for your special guy or girl. If you’re not like me and you’ve had the perfect restaurant, candies and romantic playlist picked out for weeks then you can get out of here. Just joking! Seal the deal on your already amazing plans or fill your open February 14 schedule with these “Top Ten Things to do with your Lover” ideas from the Red Cross (yes, I added with your lover).

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Who doesn’t love the selfless, sweet, caring guy who chooses to spend this special day donating his very own blood. You are touched by his compassionate soul and follow his lead. Now stick around and grab some cookies or head to that chocolate shop down the street to get rid of that slight feeling of light-headedness.

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Maybe you’ve just stepped into the powdery fluff floating from the sky or realized you and your date both share the same love of lady synchronizing swimming but you feel the moment and some smooching happens. Be careful people. It is F-L-U season. To ensure safe kissing practices check up on these tips to stay flu free.

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Ok, so you chose to stay in, cozy up to the fire (who doesn’t have a fireplace in their Bostonian apartment) and sip hot coco with Mr. or Mrs. Valentine this year. It’s great, you’re really enjoying the nice quiet night but feel like something is missing. Two words- Digital Fundraisers. Let’s get some productivity in your night. Then go back to the coco.

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Valentine’s didn’t go as planned. Your blind date was a L7 weenie. You’re back at home reliving the reality of his choice of the dreaded Hawaiian shirt and the seventh call with his mom when you just really need something besides your glass of chardonnay to turn that mood around. DING DING DING! Donate some of that money you would have spent on your second bottle of 2 buck chuck to the Red Cross (maybe more than 2 bucks though c’mon now).

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Dinner is on the table, Sinatra is asking luck to be a lady tonight, candles are lit and the door bell rings. Sparky leaps up out of his trance focused on the burnt t-bone you very kindly sacrificed an hour ago and brings the entire table down with him. Candles. On the ground. Flames. Date no more. Better luck next year in your new apartment. Don’t let this be your story by being prepared.

By the way, Sparky, #1 known dog name am I right?

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Let’s stray from the norm. No chocolates or fancy dinner reservations. You guys want to do something different. Why don’t you spend your day brushing up on your first aid and CPR skills in a Red Cross class? Now you not only have the certainty of your love for one another but you also know he won’t sit dumbfounded while the ring he masterfully baked into your slice of cake slips down your throat. Too graphic? Ya, take the class.

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Hit up the Red Cross store for a special Valentine Day gift. Nothing says I love you more than safety gear or a nice warm fleece… I’d take the fleece. They look comfy.

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Don’t let disaster strike on your special day. Hey, you didn’t know she was allergic to daisies or that this restaurant would make you feel like a piece of meat that’s on its eighth hour in the crock pot causing your pit stains to be on point. You didn’t have the foresight for that and that’s fine but you CAN be prepared for a different kind of disaster- a natural disaster.

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She’s the technological type. Always up to date on the newest ipod, ipad and every app to go with them. Impress her with the Red Cross app. Make her techy head spin with your intelligence and grace as you guide her through her very own first aid app.

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The couple who volunteers together stays together. It is just a known fact. Check up on volunteering opportunities around your local neighborhoods. Think about all the memories and experiences you can lovingly look back twenty years from now. Yes, volunteer = stay together. Forever.

Blood Drive helps keep Boston Strong

IMG_5128The Boston community really cares.

On July 18, 2013, the Red Cross and Mount Auburn Hospital organized a Blood Drive at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. Hundreds of people turned out to honor of Dic Donohue, the MBTA Transit Police Officer wounded in a shoot-out during a manhunt in April. Donohue credits blood for saving his life. IMG_5131

It was a nice moment for everyone, including the interns, who got a chance to meet Officer Donohue and see how a drive works. Some even gave blood themselves.

 

Red Cross calls for platelet donations

We could use some platelets.

The Red Cross is asking platelet donors to schedule appointments to give this week to help meet patient needs. Platelets have a very short shelf life from donation to transfusion – only five days.  As summer gets underway, those who are eligible are strongly encouraged to give as frequently as they can.

So, what is a platelet donation?  Well, during a platelet donation, a small portion of your blood (about 1/4 pint at a time), is drawn and passed through a sophisticated cell-separating machine. The machine collects the platelets and safely returns the remaining blood back to you.  What is so remarkable about platelet donation is that a single platelet donation can provide enough platelets for a full therapeutic dose, and sometimes even two or three doses.  In contrast, it takes four to six whole blood donations to produce a single therapeutic dose.

To learn more about platelet donation or to make an appointment, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit our website at http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/types-donations/platelet-donation.

“Punky Brewster” star reminds us that giving blood is always in season

Actress Soleil Moon Frye, most famous for her role as Punky Brewster, has joined forces with Nexcare Bandages and the American Red Cross to announce the fifth annual Nexcare give program, encouraging people across the country to make blood donations.

This program, surrounding the World Health Organization’s World Blood Donor Day on June 14, thanks those who give blood and inspires others to donate as a part of this annual tradition.

As a Red Cross advocate, Frye has seen firsthand how lives can be saved through blood donation.  Frye grew up understanding the importance of community support through blood donation, and was surrounded by family members who donated blood regularly.

As a part of Frye’s commitment to the Nexcare give program, today she was featured on radio stations across the country, even giving an interview on Brockton’s WXBR – 1460 AM station.

As a part of the Nexcare give program, the Nexcare Brand is giving away their limited-edition bandages inspired by each of the four seasons, each adorned with the word “give” to express that giving blood is always in season. These special bandages are being distributed at Red Cross donor centers and blood drives until World Blood Donor Day on June 14.

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