by Krystal Smith, American Red Cross Regional Digital Communications Specialist
In October 2013, Chandra Gardner became ill with severe aplastic anemia. A rare disease where your body no longer produces enough red blood cells. While she waited for a blood marrow transplant, Chandra required multiple blood and platelet transfusions.
Wanting to help, her daughter’s Girl Scout troop leader, Margo decided to throw a blood drive. Working with the Red Cross, Margo and Troop 8869 brought people together to give blood and help save lives. While the event proved therapeutic for Chandra as she sat with those donating, it provided Chandra’s daughter, Sydney, the inspiration she desired to earn her Gold Award; the highest honor awarded in the Girl Scouts.
Sidney joined the Red Cross Leaders Save Lives program hosting her own Red Cross blood drive at Flower Mound High School on January 6, 2018. The blood drive was a huge success, bringing in 101 pints of blood, thanks to the generous volunteer blood donors.
Beaming with pride, Chandra described her daughter’s efforts to ensure the blood drive was successful, “she took it upon herself to put in the hours, get the volunteers, get the donors, and educate people on what it means to donate and why we donate blood.”
“Organizing the blood drive was a great experience. I gained leadership skills and confidence that I can achieve a goal this big,” said Sidney. “During the drive, I loved seeing my friends giving blood and saving lives.”
Sidney’s efforts provided not only life-saving blood for people in need but also proved beneficial to her future; entering her into a Red Cross drawing in which she won a $2,500 college scholarship and gift card for hosting a blood drive.
Sidney is a great example of the next generation of leaders who choose to do their part to make the world a better place. If you or your student is interested, registration is now open for the Summer 2018 program which will award 10 scholarships to students participating in the Red Cross Leaders Save Lives program. Learn more at redcrossblood.org/LeadersSaveLives.