by Adriana Arbelaez, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross North Texas
The American Red Cross takes pride in being the largest single supplier of blood and blood products in the nation. It means that every day, our Biomedical Services team is able to take the blood generously donated by compassionate blood donors to hospitals for patients in need.
Here in North Texas, the American Red Cross hosted more than 1,500 blood drives last year. Whether hosting these blood drives independently or partnering with other organization and corporations, the ultimate goal of the Red Cross Biomedical Services team is to ensure the right blood is delivered to the right places at the right time to help patients.
Blood Donors are like heroes who decide to give some of their time and blood to help someone in need. During Red Cross Month donors are encouraged to actively participate in donating blood. The process is quick and easy, and with one donation up to three lives can be saved. If you are at least 16 years old, weigh more than 110 lbs and feel healthy on the day of your donation, you may be eligible to donate. Click here for additional requirements.
Every blood type is collected at blood drives and the best place to find one close to you is by visiting redcrossblood.org or downloading the free Red Cross ‘Blood Donor’ App. After the blood is collected and processed, it’s delivered wherever it is needed. “First, we try to meet the local needs, this means the needs in hospitals here in the DFW area. The remaining blood then goes where it is needed around the state,” said Jan Hale, external communications manager for biomedical services.
The Red Cross Biomedical Services team in the metroplex area has around 100 employees who work hard every day in order to be ready and respond quickly during emergencies.
“When an emergency happens in the area, we appeal directly to donors. We do it through emails and the media to spread the message out quickly” explained Hale.
One way the Red Cross attempts to spread awareness for the importance of donating blood is through its Missing Types campaign held in June. During the campaign, the letters A, B and O – the main blood groups – will disappear from brands, social media pages, signs and websites to illustrate the critical role every blood donor plays. And when A, B and O blood types are missing from hospital shelves, patient care could be impacted.
Being part of this life-saving team is extremely easy! You can join as a Blood Donor Ambassador, Blood Donor, or Host a Blood Drive.
The Blood Donor Ambassador is a volunteer position that is in charge of greeting donors when they arrive at the blood drive and offer them light refreshments in the recovery area after their blood donation. There are no prerequisites to be a Blood Donor Ambassador. Learn more information here.
Hosting a blood drive is easier than you may think. To host a blood drive, you’ll need to provide a location, volunteers to help, and donors that you’ll recruit and schedule for the drive. The Red Cross helps you through the process including providing planning assistance, recruitment tools, equipment and supplies, and trained staff for the drive. Learn how you can host a blood drive here.
Saving a life is easy and you can do it by giving blood or by volunteering with the Biomedical Services team. Schedule your blood donation appointment at redcrossblood.org or sign-up to volunteer at redcross.org/volunteer.