By Communications and Marketing Intern, Jaylen Moulton
Summer is a season filled with fun, excitement, and relaxation. It’s no doubt the Red Cross sees a decrease in blood donations over the summer with nearly one-third fewer new donors [coming] out to give last summer than during the rest of the year,” because people are much busier. Despite the fact that most people are on vacation, the Red Cross is not, and the demand for blood and platelet donations is continuous. A sufficient supply of these donations is necessary to help save lives, and employees of the Red Cross know this. As a direct result of the dedication Red Crossers exhibit, they formed the Red Crossers for Life program.
Red Crossers for Life is a blood and platelet donation program open to all employees of the American Red Cross running June 1st to July 31st. Through this program, employees are able to alleviate the portion of donations lost over the summer. Red Cross employees have come together to do an amazing act for not only the organization, but for Americans everywhere in need of these life-saving donations. Without these blood and platelet donations, many lives would be lost. Red Cross employees have truly shown their kind-heartedness and dedication through this program. One Los Angeles based employee making a difference in this regard is Joe Edwards, Manager, California Safe Corps and Americorps, who recently shared his thoughts on the process.
LA TALKS: As an employee of the Red Cross, why donate blood? Do you feel a sense of connection to where you work or is there something else?
JOE EDWARDS: It really is something else. I was a big time blood donor before I joined the Red Cross. Donating blood [is] different than donating your time, and it’s different from donating money. It’s very special, because blood cannot be duplicated or manufactured. It can only be transferred from one person to another person, and there’s a finite amount, so if you’re able to [donate] I think you should. I give a lot of credit to my late father, because when we were in high school there were blood drives at our church and I remember when I was a senior, my dad was like, “So son, how much do you weigh? Yup, you can donate, let’s go” and I was like “But dad, needles, no!” He really enforced it, and that’s just something I’ve carried with me before I started with the Red Cross. Now that I work with the same organization that does most of the blood collection in the United States, it’s a point of pride for me.
LA TALKS: How does donating blood make you feel?
JOE EDWARDS: It makes me feel proud and happy and excited. I really do feel like I’ve done something good. Now, for a lot of volunteer work, you know that donating your labor is a good thing like, “Oh, this is part of a bigger cause,” so it’s that same kind of euphoric feeling. I’m not in the hospital room where my blood is being used on somebody, but I know that not a lot of people can donate, and you always see these warnings that there is a low blood shortage happening, and so I feel happy that I’m helping out. I know some people who cannot donate blood. They would like to, but for whatever reason, they cannot, so I feel like since I’m eligible, I should do it.
LA TALKS: Why should others donate blood?
JOE EDWARDS: Because it’s the right thing to do and you really are helping people when it is most needed. You do feel good and if you have a fear of needles, it’s a way to get over that fear. I know it stings, there’s a little discomfort, but you get to help someone. If anyone’s ever been with anyone in a hospital situation where they needed a lot of blood right away, I think you already know that it’s a good thing to do!
The Red Crossers for Life program is a symbol of the inspiring commitment Red Cross employees have for helping those in need. Although it highlights the increased demand for blood and platelet donations in the summer, the program also highlights the importance, altruism, and self-fulfillment donating blood has for people. Even if it’s not in the summer, people everywhere should feel encouraged to donate their blood year-round.
For more information on donating blood, or to schedule a donation appointment, visit: http://www.redcrossblood.org
Jaylen Moulton will be a senior at Hawthorne Math and Science Academy. She enjoys drawing, singing and of course, writing! Her college plans include majoring in Psychology and Film Studies. This is Jaylen’s first year interning with the American Red Cross.