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Jane A. Delano: Pioneer of the Modern Nursing Profession

Fri, 04/26/2019 - 12:02

This month we celebrated Jane A. Delano’s contributions to the Red Cross and the field of nursing, with a wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery. A pioneer of the modern nursing profession and member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Delano founded the Red Cross nursing service in 1909 creating a vital force that uplifted lives with compassion and professional skill. Under Delano’s guidance and legacy, nurses became a national symbol volunteering for service in war and disaster, creating programs for emergency response and advancing health care programs.

Jane’s Early Life and Career

Born on March 12, 1862, in Townsend, New York, Jane Delano’s father George Delano fought and died in the Civil War. He left Jane, her sister Ada and his wife Mary Ann behind. In 1884, Jane enrolled in Bellevue Nursing School completing her degree by 1886. Her early public service nursing included the 1888 Jacksonville, Florida, yellow fever epidemic and caring for typhoid patients at a copper mine in Bisbee, Arizona. Both experiences underscored the need for health education and social services in rural communities.

Volunteering with the Red Cross

By 1898, Jane was volunteering with the New York Red Cross Society recruiting nurses for the Spanish American war. Once again, a clear need arose, this time for a reserve of trained nurses. All these experiences later influenced Jane’s work with the Red Cross Nursing Service where she put her ideas regarding a nursing reserve and health education into motion.

Jane’s professional influence grew and by 1909, she was the Superintendent of the Army Nurse Corps and simultaneously served as the Chairman of the National Committee on Red Cross Nursing Service, President of the American Nurses Association, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Journal of Nursing. Under Jane’s leadership, the Red Cross Nursing Service became the recognized nursing reserve for the Army, Navy, and the Public Health Service.

By 1912, Delano resigned from the Army Nurse Corps and volunteered full-time for the Red Cross. Jane promoted Red Cross nursing, increasing enrollment that resulted in 8,000 nurses ready for assignment when the U.S. entered World War I in 1917. By the end of the war, over 20,000 nurses were recruited.

Honoring Jane

In 1919, a few months after the end of World War I, Jane sailed to France to check on her remaining nurses. While there, she became ill and passed away on April 15, 1919. It was a sudden and tragic loss to the nursing profession. Originally buried in Savenay, France, she was later interred at Arlington National Cemetery in September 1920.

To honor Jane’s life, quality of leadership, and clarity of vision, the Red Cross and the Daughters of the American Revolution co-hosted a wreath-laying ceremony at the cemetery on April 13, 2019. We are grateful for Jane’s meaningful contributions to the Red Cross and the field of nursing.

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Who Blood Tranfusions Help: Layla Wigmore’s Story

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 06:00

Layla Wigmore is an 8-year-old, third grader with a big smile and a big heart for helping others. In March 2018, she was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, a rare condition where the body is unable to produce blood cells – red cells, white cells and platelets, causing Layla to need help from others to sustain her need for up to three units of blood each day. To date, Layla has received donated stem cells from her brother Cooper, as well as over 200 blood transfusions from donations made by generous blood donors. Layla’s fight against severe aplastic anemia isn’t over and she may need more blood transfusions in the future.

“Layla was in desperate need of blood due to her illness,” said Tina Wigmore, Layla’s mother. “Layla made it a goal to inspire others while at the hospital and encourages others by bringing joy to their lives.”

You can follow Layla’s journey on Facebook here.

How to Donate Blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or learn more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

If you come to give blood with the Red Cross by April 30, you will be entered for a chance to win a full-size Iron Throne from HBO’s Game of Thrones! Learn more at In addition, all donors who come to give from April 11-30 will also be given an exclusive Bleed For The Throne poster, while supplies last. Don’t miss out on your chance to help save lives and get these exclusive items.

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How To: Use Red Cross Skills on Your Alexa-Enabled Devices

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 06:00

Do you have an Alexa-enabled device at home? Well, we have good news for you! This month, the American Red Cross is launching three skills for Amazon Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices. These skills will make it easier for you and your loved ones to access Red Cross services when you need them.

Learn about our Red Cross skills and follow these steps to enable them in the Amazon Alexa app.

Schedule Your Next Blood Donation Appointment with Alexa

The first skill, the Red Cross Blood Scheduling skill, can help blood donors like you:

  • Find the nearest blood drives
  • Schedule your next blood, platelet or Power Red donation appointment
  • Update or change existing donation appointments
  • Learn about your past donations
  • Get timely notifications about your upcoming appointment so you don’t miss it

Once this skill is enabled (instructions below), all you have to do is link it to your Red Cross blood donor account, and you’ll be ready to get your next appointment on the books.

First Aid Skills for Everyday Emergencies

With the Red Cross First Aid skill, you can:

  • Get step-by-step instructions to help you deal with incidents that require first aid
  • Test your first aid knowledge with an interactive quiz
  • Delve deeper into different first aid topics in the FAQ section

Get Hurricane Alerts for Areas You Care About

Using the Hurricane Alerts skill, you can:

  • Stay up to date on the latest hurricane alerts in locations that matter to you in the U.S.
  • Get notified about hurricane watches and warnings; Alexa will light up and chime to let you know that a hurricane alert has been issued for the locations you’re keeping an eye on.
  • Learn quick and essential steps that show you what to do if a hurricane watch or warning affects you or your loved ones

How to Enable Red Cross Skills on the Amazon Alexa App
  1. Open the Amazon Alexa App on your device
  2. In the menu, select “Skills & Games”
  3. Select the search tool (magnifying glass icon)
  4. Search “American Red Cross”
  5. There, the skills will be listed and available for launch
  6. For the First Aid skill, for example, select “First Aid by American Red Cross”
  7. Then select “Enable to Use” and wait while the app enables the skill
  8. Once the app has enabled the skill, you’re ready to get started
Opening the Red Cross Skills

After enabling the skills on your device, just open the Red Cross skill of your choice and use prompts like the ones listed below.

  • For the Blood Scheduling skill, you can say, “Alexa, find a drive.”
  • If you’re interested in learning first aid, you can open the First Aid skill and ask, “Alexa, what are the symptoms of asthma?”
  • Hurricane alerts can be set up via the Hurricane Alert skill by saying “Alexa, ask Hurricane alerts to add a location.”

Remember, while the Red Cross Skills can help prepare you for an emergency, it’s important to note that this is not a substitute for training or seeking help from a medical professional.

For more information about American Red Cross skills for Alexa-enabled devices, visit

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Game of Thrones: Your Last Chance to Bleed #ForTheThrone and Win

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 10:17

The day we’ve been anxiously waiting for over the last year is finally here. In a matter of hours, the season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones will air on HBO, and we couldn’t be more ecstatic.

Bleed #ForTheThrone?

Part of the reason is because this year the American Red Cross teamed up with Game of Thrones and HBO to encourage fans to Bleed #ForTheThrone and donate blood to help patients in need. Anyone who came to give from Feb. 19 to March 17, was entered for a chance to win a trip to the season 8 world premiere on April 3, in New York City. Read on to hear about one blood donor’s experience at the Game of Thrones season 8 world premiere, as well as how you can still be entered for a chance win a full-size Iron Throne!

Season 8 Premiere

Playol Shippey III, a long-time blood donor and one of the five Game of Thrones season 8 world premiere sweepstakes winners, attended the event with his wife at Radio City Music Hall. According to him, they started reading the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series back in 2008, and they’ve been hooked ever since. So when he found out he could donate blood, something he already enjoys doing, for a chance to see the premiere of a show he loves, the decision was a no-brainer. And needless to say, their experience at the premiere was definitely one for the books. At the premiere, the couple got to meet some of our favorite Game of Thrones characters and even snagged photos with some of them.

Although the opportunity to attend the premiere has passed, our Game of Thrones partnership is still going strong. If you come to give blood with the Red Cross by April 30, you will be entered for a chance to win a full-size Iron Throne from HBO’s Game of Thrones! Learn more at In addition, all donors who come to give from April 11-30 will also be given an exclusive Bleed For The Throne poster, while supplies last. Don’t miss out on your chance to help save lives and get these exclusive items.

Give Today

Donating blood is a simple process and only takes about an hour from start to finish, but the actual donation itself only takes about eight to ten minutes. Don’t believe us? Take it from Playol.

“I have been a Red Cross donor for 26 years now and donate every time I can. Giving blood doesn’t take long, but makes a huge impact to those in need. I am proud to be a Red Cross donor and it feels great to know that lives are impacted and saved through my donations.”

Make your appointment today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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QUIZ: What Do You Know About Platelets?

Wed, 04/10/2019 - 11:44

Most people have heard of donating blood, but they haven’t heard about giving platelets. In fact, many people don’t even know what platelets are or who they can help. Do you?

Take this quick five-question quiz to find out how much you know about platelets and how platelet donors help save lives.

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Platelet donation is available at select Red Cross blood donation centers. Make your appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Those who present to donate blood or platelets April 1-30 will automatically be entered for a chance to win a full-size Iron Throne from HBO’s Game of Thrones. Terms and conditions apply, and are available at Additionally, those who donate between April 11-30 are eligible to receive a Bleed For The Throne poster, while supplies last. 

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What it Means to be the Child of a Service Member

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 10:38

When you ask military children where they’re from, they usually respond with clarifying questions like, “Oh, do you mean where I was born, where I was last stationed, where I lived the longest, or where I loved living the most?” This is one of several ways to identify a military child.

Military children have a number of distinctions: how they stop everything at 17:00 to stand for retreat, their instinct to stand for the national anthem at the movie theatre and their tendency to call all grocery stores the commissary. However, a military child is not just a military child in his or her behaviors; being a military child completely shapes you and identifies your very foundation.

Military children are strong as a result of the sacrifices they are asked to make, adaptable due to moving whenever the orders are received, and resilient because of the many times they are asked to say goodbye to friends and schools and start over yet again. Not only do they move duty stations, but they often say goodbye to their mothers and fathers for up to a year when deployment orders come.

One might think that asking this sacrifice of young children would result in a growing sense of resentment towards the military, but for many it does quite the opposite. These sacrifices and a parent’s service to the United States foster a sense of pride in being an American and a part of the military community. Military children understand the sacrifices of service and respect the dedication it requires.

My name is Aidan Wright, and I am a military child. If you were to ask me where I am from, I would respond in the typical military kid fashion: I was born in New York, my family was last stationed in Ft. Hood, Texas, but the longest I ever lived anywhere was three years in Tampa, Florida. Stuttgart, Germany, has been my favorite duty station. I am a currently a senior at Stuttgart High School in Stuttgart, Germany. This is my second high school, making this my 11th move in 17 years.

I have always been proud of being a military child. Not to say the journey has not been hard, because trust me, saying goodbye never gets easier. Every time my dad deployed I was proud he was serving our country. Every time we moved I was proud that it was for a greater cause.

 Growing up on military posts, I have always been surrounded by military service members, I saw their dedication every day and I learned to serve from them. I looked for ways I could show my appreciation for their service, and chose to volunteer with the American Red Cross, feeling a special connection to the branch of their mission that provides service to the armed forces.

I have been a Red Cross volunteer for the past two years, became president of the American Red Cross Youth Club at my school, Vice President of the European Youth Council, and have led multiple projects geared toward service to the armed forces.

 As I entered my senior year, I realized that the time for me to leave the military community and the lifestyle I had fallen in love with, was quickly approaching. Personally, I can’t imagine any other lifestyle than the one that made up my entire childhood. For me, no other career could be as fulfilling and as meaningful, so I made the decision to follow my father’s footsteps and apply to the United States Military Academy at West Point. I received my appointment to West Point this January, and I look forward to emulating the lessons of duty, honor, and dedication to my country that I learned from the service members I grew up surrounded by as a military child.

Service to the Armed Forces

To learn more about how the Red Cross supports military and veteran families, visit

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A Disaster in My Own Backyard

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 06:21

April Oppliger with the Lemus family outside of the Red Cross shelter.

When disasters happen, the American Red Cross is there to bring help and hope. This March, it was the people of my home state of Nebraska who needed the Red Cross in the wake of historic flooding.

As a Red Cross Blood Services employee, I have supported the life-changing work of the Red Cross for the past 10 years. But on Saturday, March 16 – my first day off since flood waters threatened my community – I volunteered to help with the disaster response and got to see the impact of the Red Cross firsthand.

I was assigned to a Red Cross shelter for those displaced by the floods. It was just opening that afternoon at a church in Bellevue, Nebraska.

Not long after I arrived, a family of four entered the building. They had just made the tough decision to evacuate their neighborhood – leaving behind everything but what they could fit in their car. For 8-year-old Lily Lemus, that meant that she grabbed a couple treasured toys, her cheerleading uniform and a few changes of clothes. For 15-year-old JJ Lemus, that meant packing his soccer gear and his video gaming system.

Their mom, Lisa Widman, likened the experience of leaving their home to putting a beloved pet to sleep. You know it’s time. You know it’s the right thing to do. But your heart breaks.

“You’re looking at your house. You’re walking out the door and knowing you’re probably not going to have a house anymore.”

Entering the shelter, the family’s emotions were raw while they waited to find out if flood waters would touch their home, which they were only $3,600 away from paying off. They had to make a difficult decision – spend money on a hotel, which they couldn’t afford for long, or stay at the shelter. I encouraged the family to take a few moments to rest and have something to eat while they mulled over their choices.

It wasn’t much longer before Lily would bring a cell phone to me to show me video footage a neighbor sent them of the water around their house. She burst into tears – the water was almost up to the roof. I couldn’t reassure her that everything was going to be OK, but I could hug her back and provide emotional support.

The Lemus family decided to stay at the shelter. The accommodations were simple – cots, blankets, pillows, hot meals and showers – but they helped fill JJ with a sense of safety, relief and hope.

JJ and Lily play a game at the Red Cross shelter.

“You don’t have to worry about a roof over your head or food on the table,” he said.

For Juan Lemus, the support of the Red Cross meant that his family wasn’t alone.

“You guys have been unbelievable since the moment I walked in with my family,” said Juan. “We were treated with respect, love and kindness. I’m glad I’m here with my family. You guys turned nothing into something.”

You can help provide hope and relief items, like food, shelter and other essentials for people like the Lemus family, by visiting or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

April Oppliger with Lily and JJ Lemus.

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Red Cross Employee Uses First Aid Training to Help Save Son’s Life

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 06:26
Shabazz Torres with his son, Elijah Torres (3) and his mother-in-law, Diana Pastula.

During Red Cross Month we celebrate heroes who use their Red Cross training to assist others in an emergency. Red Cross Training Services employee, Shabazz Torres, is a Senior Digital Marketing Analyst whose work on the Red Cross website helps individuals find lifesaving training online and in their local communities. Shabazz never thought that his employment with the Red Cross would have such a monumental impact on his life.

A Gift to be Thankful For

On December 6, 2017, Shabazz received workplace training in American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED along with the rest of his team.

“In the back of my head I remember sitting there [in First Aid/CPR/AED class] like ‘Thanks but, I’m probably never going to need this. And lo and behold, I was actually in a situation where I had to use the skills I was taught to help save my son’s life,” said Shabazz.

On September 3, 2018, Shabazz was getting ready to leave for work like any other day. His three-year-old son, Elijah, was eating breakfast with his grandmother, Diana Pastula, as he headed for the door. Suddenly, a commotion came from the kitchen and Shabazz heard Diana calling for him. Shabazz threw down his work bag and immediately ran back to the kitchen where he found Elijah choking on his breakfast and Diana performing abdominal thrusts to help dislodge the food. Shabazz took hold of his son and started abdominal thrusts but, was unable to clear his son’s airway. Quickly, Shabazz turned Elijah over and started back blows. After a few blows the obstructed food fell to the floor and his son let out an audible cry.

“It ended up being a gift. It was in the back of my head somewhere – the instruction I received kicked in. I did it subconsciously, almost as if it was second nature to me just because I took the course through the Red Cross. It really made a difference that day,” said Shabazz.

Honored with Red Cross Lifesaving Awards

On February 28, 2019, Shabazz and Diana were presented with Red Cross Lifesaving Awards for their brave response to Elijah’s choking emergency. Shabazz received the Certificate of Merit, awarded to an individual who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in a Red Cross Training Services course. Diana was awarded the Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action, given to individuals who step up in an emergency and help save or sustain a life.

A Powerful Message

Based on his own experience, Shabazz encourages everyone, especially parents, to learn First Aid/CPR skills.

“For any parent it’s worth its weight in gold because you never know when you’ll need it, and you’ll be prepared” said Shabazz.

Red Cross training gives people the knowledge and skills to act in an emergency. A variety of online, blended (online and in-person skills session) and classroom courses are available at

If you or someone you know has used skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Training Services course to help save or sustain the life of another individual, visit to nominate, recognize, or be inspired.

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Red Cross Giving Day: Four Ways You Can Make an Impact

Mon, 03/25/2019 - 06:22

The fifth annual Red Cross Giving Day is only two days away! On Wednesday, March 27, we’re asking you to join us in helping families who have lost everything to a home fire or other disaster. Things like the roof over their heads, their clothes and their most cherished possessions. Although there are many ways to show your support on Giving Day, here are four ways to get involved and make an impact.

Take a Picture with our Giving Day Selfie Sign

Love taking selfies? Snag a photo with our Giving Day selfie sign and share why you’re supporting the Red Cross. Encourage your friends and family to join in too!

Enter for a Chance to See Some of Your Favorite Celebrities

By donating $10 to Red Cross disaster relief today through March 27, you could win a four-ticket prize pack to see Amy Grant and Vince Gill’s 12 Nights of Christmas Show at The Ryman in Nashville, Tennessee.


View this post on Instagram


Donate to the American Red Cross via the link in my bio and you’ll be entered to win a VIP experience at one of @amygrantofficial’s and Vince Gill’s Christmas shows at the Ryman Theatre. #help1family #donate #amygrant #redcross

A post shared by Amy Grant (@amygrantofficial) on Mar 12, 2019 at 11:59am PDT

Donating could also put you in the running to win lunch and a private ice-skating lesson with Olympic Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton at the Ford Ice Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

When you donate $10 to the @RedCross, you not only #Help1Family, but you’re also entering to win a VIP experience with me that includes a private ice skating lesson right here in #Nashville, TN!

Learn more & donate today:

— Scott Hamilton (@ScottHamilton84) March 19, 2019

Follow the Hashtag #help1family

Follow this hashtag for updates on Red Cross Giving Day activities across the country. You can also use the hashtag on your social media channels to get your networks involved.

Donate to Help a Family in Need

You can provide hope and relief items, like food, shelter and other essentials to people who need it most by visiting You can also text “GIVE” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

If we each #help1family, think of what we could do. About our Giving Day Supporters

The American Red Cross is grateful for those donors that are making an impact to #help1family by supporting our Giving Day. They include: the Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation and OnStar. Thanks to the kindness of these and other supporters, the Red Cross is able to provide hope and urgent relief to people when they need it most.

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How Your Blood Donation Can Help Save Lives

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 13:00

Every day, volunteer blood and platelet donors across the country are needed to help save lives. Eligible individuals can feel good knowing that by donating through the Red Cross, they may be helping patients not only in their community, but across the country. Patients like Vikas Mahajan, who needed blood transfusions during two major heart surgeries. Read on to learn how blood donations helped change his life and why he encourages others to donate blood.

A Childhood Illness

When Vikas was a child, he was diagnosed with a disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart muscle thickens so much that it becomes difficult to pump blood throughout the body. Unlike other children, he wasn’t able to run and play. While walking he often had to stop and catch his breath. As he grew older, his condition evolved into congestive heart failure, which became so severe over time that a heart transplant was his only solution. Unfortunately, when he needed a new heart, there weren’t any available, so he received a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) heart pump in the interim.

Complications during Surgery

During his heart pump operation in 2014, Vikas started bleeding excessively and doctors determined that he needed platelets to stop the bleeding. Platelets are tiny cells in your blood that form clots and stop bleeding. For millions of Americans, they are essential to surviving and fighting cancer, chronic diseases, and traumatic injuries.

“It made me aware of how important blood and platelet donations are during surgeries. Without the platelets I received, I might not have made it through that operation. That’s why it’s so critical for people to understand how blood products are used to save lives,” said Vikas.

The LVAD allowed Vikas to do more than he was able to do in the past. It allowed him to go back to work, and in 2015 he accepted a position with the American Red Cross as the senior director of Information Security Operations.

“The heart pump did a wonderful job. It certainly gave me my life back,” said Vikas. “I was able to go back to work. I could walk without getting short of breath, but still, I could never be separated from my heart pump. There were a lot of restrictions with it. So as wonderful as it was, I was looking forward to living a more complete and normal life with a new heart.”

A New Life

In July 2018, Vikas was notified that a new heart had become available. That month he received a heart transplant and required blood products again during surgery. Now at seven months post-transplant, he is able to do all of the active things he used to dream about.

“I’m able to do things now that I was never able to before because I didn’t have a heart that was strong enough. Now I can run, play, swim and enjoy the outdoors with my kids. I’m very excited about the new chance at life I’ve been given all thanks to organ and blood donations,” said Vikas.

Give Now and Give Often

Today, Vikas encourages everyone who is eligible to give blood to help save lives.

“Blood donations are critical to help save the lives of people you see every day. Whether it be friends, family members, or colleagues at work, they all will get touched by these donations in some way. My goal is to continue to educate and inform people about how donating blood can help change people’s lives for the better,” said Vikas.

Schedule your blood donation appointment today by using the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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Bleeding #ForTheThrone: Game of Thrones and the Red Cross Team Up at SXSW

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 15:45


To celebrate the final season of Game of Thrones, HBO and the American Red Cross partnered to ask fans and blood donors to Bleed #ForTheThrone this March.

The partnership also included an immersive blood drive experience at this year’s SXSW in Austin, Texas. Here, fans bent the knee for the throne and showed their bravery by making a blood donation to help patients battling illness and injury.

But the partnership isn’t limited to SXSW attendees in Austin. Those who roll up their sleeve March 7-12 will receive an exclusive Game of Thrones t-shirt. And those who come to give through March 17 will be automatically entered for a chance to win one of five trips to the season 8 world premiere of Game of Thrones.

Every day, the Red Cross must collect over 13,000 blood and 2,500 platelet donations for patients in need. Lifesaving blood products are needed every two seconds in the U.S. to help treat accident victims, cancer patients, children with blood disorders and others.

With thousands of blood donations uncollected due to severe weather over the past couple of months, we urge all eligible individuals to roll up a sleeve and give blood as soon as possible to ensure critical medical treatments or emergency care are not delayed or canceled. Donating blood is a simple process and only takes about an hour from start to finish, and the actual donation lasts just 8-10 minutes.

As Game of Thrones fans gear up for the Season 8 premiere, you can still participate by making an appointment to donate blood for the thousands of patients in-need every day. Find a drive near you here.

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Learn Lifesaving Skills with the Red Cross

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 14:00

At the Red Cross, we offer a variety of courses that cover topics ranging from first aid and performing CPR to water safety and babysitting skills. Each course was created to teach the lifesaving training and skills you need to help prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. This Red Cross Month, we’d like to highlight Brittany Ingenito, a senior at Kennesaw State University, who used her Red Cross training to help a man in need. Read on to learn what happened that day.

A Life-Changing Moment

On June 13, 2018, Brittany completed her Red Cross CPR training at her university. She had no idea that she would have to put her training to the test the very next day.

While driving to dinner, Brittany and her then boyfriend got stuck behind a line of cars. Curious about the cause of the pile up, the pair drove closer to the scene. With her window rolled down, Brittany was shocked to see a motorcyclist lying unconscious on the ground. One of his friends was holding his head up while another dialed 9-1-1. In that moment she knew what she needed to do.

Using Her Red Cross Training

Brittany asked her boyfriend to pull over and ran toward the motorcyclist. She told his friends that she was CPR certified and jumped into action. Next, she stabilized his head, checked his breathing and then started chest compressions. The motorcyclist’s friend who dialed 9-1-1 put the phone on speaker so Brittany could talk to the operator until the EMTs arrived.

“Even though my heart was racing, as soon as I saw the motorcyclist, I knew what I needed to do because of my training. When I started talking to the 9-1-1 operator, I felt calm. Since I was CPR certified, I knew I had to take charge of the situation and direct everyone until the EMTs got there,” said Brittany.

After Brittany had performed 130 chest compressions, the EMTs took over. Later she headed home to tell her mom what happened.

“My mom was in tears because she knew how hard that was for me to do. She was just so proud of me for being courageous and taking the time to stop and help someone in need,” said Brittany.

Being Honored for Bravery

On Jan. 25, 2019, Brittany was honored with the Red Cross Lifesaving Award and Certificate of Merit for her effort to help the injured motorcyclist. This award is the highest honor an individual can receive for performing an extraordinary act of bravery, compassion and service.

“It was an honor just to be recognized. I know how much time and effort the Red Cross puts into recognizing people who are certified,” Brittany said.

Today, Brittany encourages everyone to get certified in first aid and CPR so they have the knowledge and skills to act during emergencies.

“I tell my family and friends that getting certified is not only important just in case you have to perform CPR, but because you also learn crucial first aid skills that can help people with more minor injuries,” said Brittany.

Take a Training Class

Register to take a Red Cross training course at today to learn lifesaving skills for tomorrow.

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Celebrating Global Humanitarians on International Women’s Day

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 12:45
Julie, after setting up a satellite communications system in Nepal.

This International Women’s Day, we are celebrating women at the Red Cross who further our mission in communities across the globe every day. One of these women is Julie Bradley, a world traveler and author who has volunteered with our International Services division for the last 9 years. Read on to find out why Julie became a Red Cross volunteer and how she helps people stay connected during global disasters.

Hurricane Katrina

Julie first came in contact with the Red Cross in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina destroyed her parents’ home. She was clearing debris from the house, when she heard someone approaching. When she walked outside, she saw Red Cross volunteers in an emergency response vehicle. After having eaten granola bars for hours, she and her family welcomed the hot meals offered by the volunteers.

“The hot meals were most welcome, as well as getting to know the stories of the Red Cross volunteers from all over the country. They even told us they had shelter for us. The fact that these good people left their families and homes to help out total strangers in desperate conditions impressed my husband Glen and me so much.”

The couple’s experience with the volunteers moved them so much that they started taking Red Cross courses as soon as they got back home to Arizona.

When Julie first started volunteering with the Red Cross, she deployed only to domestic disasters, while Glen deployed to both national and international disasters. But four years later, Julie had a change of heart after something in her husband shifted.

The Effects of International Disasters

On Jan. 12, 2010, a catastrophic earthquake struck Haiti. That year, Glen deployed with the American Red Cross team to the island nation for five weeks immediately following the earthquake. When he returned home, Julie was excited to see him, but she noticed something different about him. He was usually a strong and composed person, but Glen had been shattered by the devastation he witnessed in Haiti.

The effect this earthquake had on Glen made Julie realize that although disasters in the U.S. can be devastating, disasters in developing countries can be even worse. So that year, Julie decided that she wanted to spend her time helping people impacted by crises around the globe.

Creating Connections Julie installing an antenna in Kathmandu.

As an international disaster response volunteer, Julie deploys with the Red Cross’s IT Telecommunications Emergency Response Unit (ERU). In her role, Julie helps communities impacted by disasters and disaster responders stay connected by setting up much needed radio and internet networks.

“When people at disaster sites tell me that they can’t perform some medical services, organize relief projects or arrange to receive supplies until they have an internet connection, I really feel like my contribution is important,” said Julie.

One of her most memorable experiences volunteering took place in Nepal—a Himalayan nation struck by a catastrophic earthquake in 2015. While she was setting up an internet connection there, she remembers speaking with workers at a nearby hospital. They told her they were waiting for the internet to be connected before they could start patient amputations because they wanted to communicate with a hospital in Finland during the operations.

A Family Away From Home Julie speaking with other Red Cross volunteers during a disaster operation in Nepal.

In addition to creating connections during disasters, Julie is driven to volunteer because of her teammates. This stems from her experiences working with teams during her 20 years in the U.S. Army. She considers her ERU team to be family.

“We are a team working toward the same goal. Once you’re on our team, you become family—a part of the Red Cross family,” said Julie.

Making a Global Impact

When encouraging others to volunteer with the Red Cross, Julie cannot speak enough about how much volunteering has changed her as a person.

“Volunteering with the Red Cross expands your heart and gives you the ability to see life on a larger scale. It makes you feel like a global person. You’re not thinking locally anymore. And you recognize that all we have is each other,” said Julie.

Become a Volunteer

In the face of crises like earthquakes, typhoons, conflict, severe drought, and famine, the American Red Cross and global Red Cross Red Crescent network join together to ease people’s suffering. Find out how you can volunteer to help disaster victims at home and across the globe at

For more information about American Red Cross’s work around the world, visit

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March is Red Cross Month: Why Stephen Peth Became a Red Cross Volunteer

Tue, 03/05/2019 - 13:37

This Red Cross Month, we are celebrating the volunteers and services that make our organization special. Throughout the month, we’ll bring you stories of help and hope, bringing to light the people who unselfishly give their time to further the Red Cross mission. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Stephen Peth who has volunteered with our Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) division for the last 13 years. Read on to find out why Steve became a Red Cross volunteer and how he helps wounded warriors in their time of need.

Serving in the Military Steve preparing to take off on a DUSTOFF mission in Vietnam.

In 1967, Steve joined the Army where his first operational assignment was in Vietnam as a medical evacuation (DUSTOFF) helicopter pilot, a role that is credited as one of the most dangerous jobs of the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, 11 months into his tour as a DUSTOFF pilot, this proved to be true when Steve’s helicopter was hit 39 times, putting a hole in his arm and another in his boot. This mission earned Steve the Purple Heart in addition to his previous valor in combat awards: the Silver Star Medal, one of the three highest honors a service member can receive, and two Distinguished Flying Crosses. He recovered after six months of rehabilitation and went on to accumulate 3600 flight hours and many honors before he retired from the Army in 1992.

General Creighton Abrams pinning a Silver Star on Steve in Vietnam. Helping Wounded Warriors Steve volunteering in the Walter Reed Military Advanced Training Center.

As someone who grew up in a patriotic household, Steve wanted to continue to serve his country after his retirement from the private sector in 2006.

“I just got to thinking about what I was seeing on the news with all these people coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. I started my career serving patients as a medical evacuation pilot in Vietnam — and I’ve been a patient myself,” said Steve.

So as a former wounded warrior, he looked to the Red Cross and to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. for opportunities to give back. He became a Red Cross volunteer at the military hospital in 2006 and continued when the Army hospital moved to become the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

In his volunteer role, Steve serves both the staff and the patients. He helps the staff by doing things like putting away linens and equipment, which frees up time for staff to work with patients. And he sits with patients during their free time to learn more about their stories.

“The patients just really open up. And that’s, I think, cathartic for them to be able to talk about themselves and about what’s happened. And you can just see they really lighten up when they know that somebody’s interested in their story and interested in what happened to them,” Steve said.

His service also has a broader impact on the caregivers of wounded warriors who appreciate the time that he and other volunteers spend at the hospital. This appreciation and support from caregivers, hospital staff and patients is what inspires him to continue to volunteer.

“You’re around patients that are severely wounded. And if you can bring a smile to their face in one way or another, that makes me feel good. And the appreciation expressed by the staff, makes me want to volunteer even more,” Steve said.

Become a Volunteer Steve volunteering in the Military Advanced Training Center and working with an amputee.

Interested in becoming an SAF volunteer? Reach out to your local Red Cross chapter for opportunities today.

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March is Red Cross Month: Why Joe Apicelli Became a Red Cross Volunteer

Mon, 03/04/2019 - 04:30
Joe (left) getting the word out about Red Cross meals.

This Red Cross Month, we are celebrating the volunteers and services that make our organization special. Throughout the month, we’ll bring you stories of help and hope, bringing to light the people who unselfishly give their time to further the Red Cross mission. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Joe Apicelli who has volunteered with our Disaster Services team for the last 14 years. Read on to find out why Joe became a Red Cross volunteer and how he helps those who have lost everything during disasters.

Hurricane Katrina Makes Landfall

On August 25, 2005, a day after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, Joe remembers watching the devastation from the hurricane unfold on television. The footage was heartbreaking.

When he woke up the next day, he felt an overwhelming desire to help those affected in whatever way he could. So when he saw that the Red Cross was asking for financial donations, he wrote a check and headed straight down to his local chapter in New London, Connecticut. When he arrived, he met Sue Rochester-Bolen, who had no idea that she would change his life forever.

In the chapter office, Joe and Sue witnessed the Lower Ninth break on television. Joe then asked Sue if she needed any help, and she put him to work. That day he took classes in first aid, CPR and mass care. He deployed to Louisiana to help Hurricane Katrina victims days later.

During Joe’s first deployment, he was sent to the Houston Astrodome to work with more than 23,000 evacuees from the Lower Ninth Ward who had no place to go. And from then on, he never looked back. He became a Red Cross volunteer for life.

Making a Difference Joe loading supplies into his emergency response vehicle.

Since he started volunteering 14 years ago, Joe has helped disaster victims in many different capacities. Pulling from his background in the restaurant business, Joe has served as a kitchen manager overseeing the delivery of meals, a mass care volunteer feeding victims staying in Red Cross shelters, and as an emergency response vehicle driver serving meals in affected communities. He has also worked in warehouses sorting disaster supplies for victims and at disaster operation centers pulling together logistical plans. No matter the role, Joe is always happy that he can make a difference in people’s lives.

“We’re all from different backgrounds, nationalities, and ethnicities. We live in different neighborhoods. But we’re all one human family. And the suffering that someone goes through can be eased over time with comfort and help. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives as a volunteer,” said Joe.

Meeting Lifelong Friends

One of Joe’s most memorable experiences during a deployment took place in Chalmette, Louisiana. He deployed there in 2006 where he first met Regina, her husband Jack, and their two young children, Andrew and Alyssa. He was driving an emergency response vehicle when he saw Regina walking her children to the bus stop, so he stopped and handed them some lunch. Joe admired her because of her hope and positive attitude despite the fact that her neighborhood was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Every day after he’d finished the rest of his route, he drove by the bus stop to hand Regina and her kids lunch. He returned home from his deployment six weeks later.

“Well, six weeks came and went and I said goodbye to Regina. It was tearful. It was a hard time to say goodbye. She was a sweetheart. Her children were just four and six years old. And they were just wonderful little people. They didn’t understand the severity of the disaster, but they were just always so happy,” said Joe.

Ten years later, he deployed to Hammond, Louisiana as a kitchen manager to help with floods in the area. During this deployment he drove to Chalmette to see his old friend Regina again. After a few knocks, she opened the door and was shocked to see a familiar face. The two then reconnected as if no time had passed, and today he still keeps in touch with Regina and her family.

Changing for the Better Joe packing meals to distribute to disaster victims.

Since Joe started volunteering in 2005, he has deployed 43 times during disasters ranging from Hurricane Katrina to the 2018 California Wildfires. And he believes that each experience has helped him become a better person.

 “Volunteering has made me a better person, a smarter person. And I can’t think of a better way to grow,” said Joe.

Become a Volunteer

Volunteers like Joe make it possible for the Red Cross to respond to an average of 62,000 disasters each year. You too can make a difference. Visit to learn how to become a disaster volunteer.

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Teaching Kids about Preparedness with The Pillowcase Project

Fri, 03/01/2019 - 06:20

Long before I joined the Red Cross communications team, I was a Red Cross volunteer. I worked the reception desk at blood drives and brought comfort kits to patients at the VA Hospital. I enjoyed doing my part to help facilitate lifesaving blood donations, and it felt good knowing I could bring hope, sunshine and even a breath of fresh air into the lives of hospitalized veterans.

A few months into my Red Cross volunteer experience, I got wind of the Disney Pillowcase Project, a learn, practice, share curriculum aimed to arm third to fifth grade students with real-world emergency preparedness skills. Like any good Red Crosser, I took my online trainings and then completed the in-person Pillowcase Project Instructor course. I was so excited to get in front of my first classroom of students! But within days of completing my instructor certification, I accepted a paid position with the Red Cross, turning my focus to all things communications and putting my emergency preparedness teaching debut on hold.

Well, on hold for about four years…

On Feb. 6, 2019, along with my colleague, friend and fellow volunteer, Tim Suda, I assisted my very first Pillowcase Presentation for a group of fifth graders: Girl Scout Troop 15200 of the Pace Academy Lower School in Atlanta, GA. It was awesome! The students were engaged, inquisitive and even reminded me that a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter can go a long way during an emergency. We discussed the importance of talking with grown-ups at home about what to do during emergencies like home fires, tornadoes and hurricanes—and we discussed the importance of sharing the information learned with siblings, friends and neighbors.

The Pillowcase Project teaches more than practical emergency preparedness skills. It also teaches students how to cope, emotionally, with feelings that might arise before, during and after a disaster. Appropriately, we call this component of the presentation: Coping Skills—more specifically, Symbol of Strength and Breathing with ColorSymbol of Strength is exactly what it sounds like. Students visualize themselves doing an activity that makes them feel strong and confident. Then, they take an imaginary selfie of themselves feeling great, paste their selfie onto an imaginary shield, and rest assured knowing they can use their shield to feel strong, anytime they need it. The second component, Breathing with Color, is a simple meditation where participants breathe in all the good, their favorite shade of blue—and then breathe out any negative feelings they are having, visualizing the gloomy color gray leaving their minds and bodies.

As a communicator with the Red Cross, I regularly tell stories about volunteers and their involvement in disaster relief action. Rarely though, do I get to be a part of the preparedness efforts that go on behind the scenes, efforts that help people survive during and thrive after catastrophic emergencies and disasters. That’s why it felt so good to get out and help teach a Pillowcase Project Presentation—even if it was four years in the making. Plus, participating in the Breathing with Color exercise during the presentation only made the good feelings that come with volunteering even better!

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Teamwork Makes the Disaster Response Dream Work

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 04:45

The American Red Cross responds to disasters across the United States every day. With 2018 being a record year for disaster response, we would not have been able to help alleviate human suffering without support from our community partners across the country through our In-Kind Donation (IKD) Partner Donation Program. Through this program, we work with local community groups and organizations to ensure that small goods donations reach the people who need them most. Earl Brown, a member of our National Disaster Partnerships Team, says that the program “enables us to support our partners in grassroots initiatives that directly benefit affected communities during and immediately following disasters.” Below are some examples of how the program allowed us to work alongside organizations in the community to help those impacted by the California wildfires in late 2018.

  • When the disaster response operation started receiving donations of clothing, blankets and toiletries that could not be stored or dispersed effectively to survivors, instead of turning them away, members of our National Disaster Partnerships team worked with local organizations that were better equipped to handle donated goods. Organizations like the Fred Jordan Missions in Covina were able to take the donations offered by Cal Poly SLO-Alpha Phi Sorority and make sure that they were given to families in need.
  • Many young people were also inspired to help wildfire survivors. Young people like fifth grader Filip Oliver, who worked in his community to collect toys for children affected by the Camp and Woolsey fires. The Red Cross was able to connect Filip to Toys for Tots-Salvation Army in Los Angeles, which distributed the toys to children in affected communities.
  • Smoke from the wildfires negatively impacted the health of not only survivors but all of the disaster responders as well. So, when Oxygen Plus reached out to the Red Cross to donate portable oxygen containers, we knew we had to find the perfect partner to receive their donation. Our partnerships team was able to connect Oxygen Plus with Lott Carey-NBCA (National Baptist Convention of America) who was able to utilize the donation to help wildfire survivors.

As we head into 2019, we look forward to continuing to team up with community partners to help those who have been impacted by disasters. To learn more about the Red Cross and how we work with partners, please visit our community partners page.

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When Your Child Gets Diagnosed With Sickle Cell Disease

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 07:58

Fear, anxiety, exasperation… this is what ran through my mind when I heard the words, “Your daughter has sickle cell disease.” Being told that your child has a chronic illness is something a parent never wants to hear. When my daughter Tymia was first diagnosed, I was terrified. But that terror quickly turned to determination to give her the best care I could.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects as many as 100,000 people—90% of whom are of African descent. The disease causes red blood cells to change from a normal round, soft blood cell to a sticky, hard, sickled shaped blood cell under certain stressors. These abnormal blood cells can stick together and block blood flow and oxygen causing pain and other complications. There is no widely used cure for sickle cell disease and regular blood transfusions are one of the most common treatments.

Over the course of Tymia’s life I have come to accept that it’s not a matter of if she will get sick, but rather a question of when and how bad it will be when she does. I fear each night that I will wake up to her piercing screams because of the pain caused by her disease. More than that, I fear the helpless feeling I get during her sickle cell crises because there is nothing I can do to alleviate her pain.

There have been many trips to the hospital where I’ve watched Tymia through my car’s rearview mirror, wishing for the twinkle in her eyes to return. When we arrive at the hospital, with a broken heart, I pray by her bedside and hope for her to get better soon. To date, Tymia has been hospitalized over 56 times, receiving more than 58 blood transfusions and multiple surgeries to help save her life.

Being Tymia’s mom has changed my world, how I view life and what I stand for. I’ve become a strong advocate for my daughter and for others who have this debilitating disease. With my daughter by my side, I organize and host blood drives with the American Red Cross—thanking blood donors for their lifesaving donations and educating people on the importance of donating blood. We let these donors know that their blood donations help not just sickle cell patients, but others who may be in need because of illness, disasters or traumatic injuries.

For those who may be reading this, I urge you to join me in becoming a blood donor. Please don’t wait until it’s a loved one that needs a blood transfusion— when emergencies arise patients with an immediate need rely heavily on donated blood stored in reserve on hospital shelves.

Donate Blood to Help Save Lives

Right now, the Red Cross has a severe shortage of type O blood donations and urges type O donors – as well as eligible donors of all blood types – to give now to help ensure blood products are available for patients like Tymia who depend on transfusions. You can make an appointment by using the Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Those who present to donate before March 17 will automatically be entered for a chance to win one of five trips to the season 8 world premiere of Game of Thrones. Terms and conditions apply, and are available at Plus, those who present to donate March 7-12 will also receive exclusive Game of Thrones swag including: a T-shirt, stickers to unlock a unique Snapchat filter and other items, while supplies last.

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