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Donate blood and recognize the contributions of the American Red Cross in March

RedCrossWhen: March

What: Blood drives are a common occurrence, but it is easy to forget the organization that spearheads blood donation. In March, celebrate the American Red Cross and all the services it provides, from blood donation to disaster relief and more during American Red Cross Month.

Background: The American chapter of the Red Cross was founded in 1881 by Clara Barton, a nurse who provided care to soldiers in the field during the Civil War. Since then, the American Red Cross has been providing emergency services, disaster relief and education across the United States. The Red Cross is also well known for providing blood services, including donations. In 2013, President Barack Obama signed a declaration that proclaimed March to be American Red Cross Month, aimed at supporting and promoting awareness for the Red Cross and their services.

Story Pitch: A number of groups and organizations can pitch around American Red Cross Month. Phlebotomists (people trained to draw blood) will want to note the importance of blood donations and focus on how they can save lives. They can also encourage blood donors to familiarize themselves with safety procedures when donating blood. Hospitals and emergency rooms may promote the importance of blood donations, citing statistics relevant to their particular care units and how many lives are saved via blood donation. Local offices and workplaces may offer CPR and first-aid classes, noting the importance of emergency care knowledge. Retailers can emphasize the importance of donations during disaster relief, and point to items the Red Cross could use for future displaced families.

Story Hook: There are more than 9.5 million blood donors in the United States each year. Meanwhile, the Red Cross responds to roughly 70,000 disasters in the U.S. a year. Consider the following when you make your pitch:

  • What type of disaster relief is provided by the Red Cross? When is it necessary for the Red Cross to step in?
  • How many people are saved by blood donations each year?
  • At what age can people begin taking CPR and first-aid classes?
  • What are some of the side effects and reactions that come along with donating blood?

Tips: A phlebotomist who regularly draws blood can provide information on proper procedures as well as statistics on how important donated blood is to the population. In addition, a high school student who has donated blood can give good insight into the blood donation process from a new, young perspective.

Resources:

America’s Blood Centers
(202) 393-5725
www.americasblood.org

American Red Cross
(202) 303-5214
www.redcross.org

Blood and Marrow Transplant Information Network
(847) 433-3313
help(at)bmtinfonet.org
www.bmtinfonet.org

Bone Marrow Foundation
(212) 838-3029
thebmf(at)bonemarrow.org
www.bonemarrow.org

Centers for Disease Control
(800) 232-4636
www.cdc.gov

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