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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Blood donations honored in May

    Alex McIntyre

    The American Red Cross Donation Center on Broadway Boulevard on Saturday. During the month of May, the Red Cross celebrates World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day to spread awareness about blood donations. Donations are in high demand following the Nepal earthquake.

    The American Red Cross is using the month of May to spread awareness for blood donations.

    In May, donors are encouraged to give blood in honor of World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, according to a press release. Henry Dunant, whose birthday is May 8, is remembered this month because he was an early leader in the Red Cross. He was an honorary member of the National Red Cross Societies of Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Prussia and Spain. He introduced badge wearing so others could recognize the people who died during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870.

    Kimberly Houk, the American Red Cross external communications manager, has donated blood for more than a year. Houk said the idea around Red Crescent Day is to celebrate all the good that people come together to do for the Red Cross, and the true meaning of what the Red Cross stands for.

    “We are there to help people in need,” Houk said. “Our big mission right now is to remind people that we have a great need for people to come forward and give back to the community by becoming blood donors to keep the hospitals stocked with blood.”

    May helps people to remember Dunant and his contributions, as well as look at all the good things the Red Cross does for people who need assistance. 

    Houk said O negative, which is the universal blood type, A negative and B negative are all important blood types needed when donating. If a person is not able or doesn’t feel comfortable giving blood, they can create their own SleevesUP virtual blood drive team across the nation that encourages team members to come forward and give blood at the nearest locations.

    “Volunteers don’t help out anymore this month than any other month in particular,” Houk said. “We just constantly need to put out a reminder that there is a great need to always volunteer with the Red Cross, so you can always help your neighbors in need.”

    Trudy Thompson Rice, the Greater Phoenix regional chief communications officer for the American Red Cross, has been working for the organization as a blood donor for 17 years. 

    “My favorite thing is helping people,” Rice said. “Neighbors help neighbors no matter what. Donating blood is a good thing if you can do it.”

    Connie Lira-Saavedra, a UA junior studying Mexican American studies and Latin American studies, has been a blood donor since 2010. Lira-Saavedra said she started donating because it was offered at her school in Mesa, Ariz. She said she has given blood about seven times and tries to continue donating at least twice a year.

    “Helping others is something I am passionate about,” Lira-Saavedra said. “So, when I found out I could donate blood and help those who need it, I said, ‘Why not?’ I mean, who knows? I might need a blood donation in the future.”

    She said her motivation for giving blood is to help others and save their lives.

    “It hurts me to know that there are people who need blood and are not receiving it,” she said. “I like that, for us, the donors, the process is easy and the outcome is endless.”

    This summer, the American Red Cross is organizing a blood drive targeted at high school and college students called Leaders Save Lives Scholarship Program.

    The event runs from June 1 to Aug. 31. The American Red Cross will give away $14,000 in scholarships to participants between ages 16 and 24 who collect at least 25 pints of blood and achieve 100 percent of the projected blood drive goal.


    Follow Amber White on Twitter.

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