Brookfield Zoo Blood Drive

Brookfield Zoo Blood Drive
Monserrat Figueroa spent her 10th birthday up close with a southwestern hawk while her mother rolled up a sleeve to help save lives. She and her siblings gathered around Saguaro the hawk with wide eyes to learn more facts about the bird. As her mother exited the blood donation room, Monserrat detailed the experience. The 3rd Annual Brookfield Zoo Blood Drive gave the chance to donate life-saving blood while also enjoying a day at the zoo with family. 
 

35503184044_bf34042c07_o Monserrat and Red Cross Volunteers pose with Saguaro the hawk.

“Are you proud of your mom for helping people today?” I asked Monserrat. She nodded her head excitedly. Her mother, Rocio Figueroa, was one of over 200 people who donated blood at the event on August 2nd. 
 
Many of the donors had given blood before. A couple donated together for the second time, a young girl donated for the third time, and an elderly man shared that he had donated to the Red Cross over 15 times before. When asked about his reason for donating, he answered that it was because he felt like he should. Without a direct connection to someone in need of blood, he had the empathy and the drive take action.
 

36338052695_3c759f4677_o Woman donates blood for the third time.

Thank you to all of the donors who found their reason to donate to blood at the Brookfield Zoo.
Join the American Red Cross at a blood drive near you to help save lives.
By: Lucia Varlotta, American Red Cross Communications Intern
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CBS Radio/Telethon Aids Disaster Relief

IMG_7301(CHICAGO, IL) – On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, CBS hosted the fourth annual CBS Chicago Cares Radio/Telethon to benefit disaster relief for the American Red Cross.

Volunteers answered the phones for 14 hours Nov. 24 to take donations atIMG_7277 the CBS Broadcast Center downtown. Even people walking by the studio, like Ania, donated cash and coins after school.

CBS Director of Community Affairs Shawnelle Richie said in 2012 the station wanted to do something to give back and decided to partner with the Red Cross. “So, we told them that we would want to raise money and showcase all the good that they do,” said Richie.

This year’s telethon focused on home fires – one of the biggest disaster-related threats to families. The Red Cross responds to 3 to 4 fires every day in our community, helping families with food and shelter.

23203362651_bbda3d7a8a_oWhile volunteers collected donations on the phone, another group helped out at the Chicago Fire Department’s Engine Company 38 on 16th St. in North Lawndale. They gave out 500 free carbon monoxide detectors and signed up 130 residents for smoke alarm installations.

“These are life safety devices that really do work in emergency situations,” said Deputy Fire Chief Dan Cunningham.

The Red Cross recently launched a nationwide program called the Home Fire Campaign. This initiative aims to reduce fatalities and injuries caused by home fires by 25 percent over the next23259237576_29bf01d7d7_o (1) several years by installing smoke alarms in homes located in high-risk communities. Families are also educated about fire safety and make a fire escape plan.

Claire Pywell, Regional Individual and Community Preparedness Manager for the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois, said the campaign has “really just begun, but so far, nationally, we can document 27 lives saved by all the smoke alarm installs that we’ve done.”

The Home Fire Campaign requires volunteers to install the alarms in23178276552_cebd8910bc_o people’s homes and provide fire safety education on site. The carbon monoxide detectors were donated from First Alert, allowing volunteers to give them away free of charge at the fire station during the telethon.

In addition to the smoke detectors, Cunningham said it is important for people to plan a meeting place outside the home and actually practice exit drills in their home, “I actually make my own family practice it.”

The CBS telethon raised more than $1 million for the Red Cross. Corporate donors included Aon, Ace Hardware, Astellas USA Foundation, CDW, McDonald’s and Motorola Solutions Foundation.

If you’d like to help people affected by disasters, big or small, call 1-800-RED CROSS or go to redcross.org

IMG_7313

Story by Eleanor Lyon, Public Affairs Volunteer, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois 

 Photos by Bill Biederman and Danny Diaz, Public Affairs Volunteer, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois 

Coal City Tornado Survivor: “I’m One of the Lucky Ones”

18958425470_58a7635484_o(COAL CITY, IL) – Marcia Wills was at home watching TV Monday night when the power went out and she heard a loud crash. The next thing she remembered was rescue workers picking her up and taking her to the hospital. Her senior apartment complex in Coal City was destroyed so she couldn’t go home after the storm. But she arrived at a familiar place, First Methodist Church, where she’s a member of the congregation and where the Red Cross opened shelter.

Marcia was greeted by shelter manager Joyce Cook, who got her settled and made sure her medications were replaced. They sit together every afternoon. Marcia’s worried about her neighbors, but Joyce, who located the building manger, assured Marcia everyone is ok.

“The good lord was looking after me. I’m one of the lucky ones,” said Marcia. “My heart breaks for my friends.”

Joyce and the Red Cross will continue to comfort Marcia during her stay and help her find a home.

NEED HELP? If you’ve been affected the Northern Illinois Tornadoes and Storms call our Red Cross call center 312-729-6250.

GIVE HELP After a disaster, financial donations are the quickest and best way to get help to the people who need it most. If you would like to help those affected by disasters like the recent Illinois tornado outbreak, please visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

Story By: Patricia Kemp, Communications Manager, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois

Photo By: dirkfletcher.com

Blood Drive Birthday Party – “It’s the Best Gift to Give Back”

photo 4Rather than toasting champagne on her 50th birthday, Beth Dustman raised a cupcake to raise her blood sugar level with friends at the American Red Cross.

“We wanted to do something meaningful on our birthdays,” said Beth, joined by Winnetka friends Beverly Petersen, Midge Hano and Kim Falk, who all rolled up a sleeve with Beth to give blood. Kim arranged for the birthday party at a blood drive by the Red Cross in Chicago where her husband, Scott Falk, serves on the organization’s Board of Directors.

“It’s the best gift to give back,” said Beth, surrounded by her friends, and a nod to her father who had leukemia and needed blood.  She holds a sign she wrote that reads, “In celebration of life and friendship.”

Like Beth, the Red Cross is also celebrating a milestone birthday this year marking 100 years of service to Chicago. You can give the gift of blood by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Every 2 seconds someone needs blood and 1 pint can save up to 3 lives.

Story and photo by: Patricia Kemp, Communications Manager, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois 

Blood Drives and Biking Motivate Volunteer

Two things really Kathy Schubert bikerget volunteer Kathy Schubert moving – riding bikes and giving blood.

“I need a destination on my bike, so I’ll ride to a Red Cross blood drive,” Kathy said.

The avid cyclist has been a Red Cross blood drive volunteer coordinator since 2001, organizing one of her first events for the organization days after 9/11 when there was an urgent need for blood.

Kathy continues to bike to blood drives around Chicago and the DePaul University campus, recruiting donors and helping collect more than 5,000 pints over the years.

“I volunteer because people out there need my help,” she said.

Story and photo by Patricia Kemp, Communications Manager, American Red Cross of Greater Chicago

Blood Donor Rolls Up His Sleeve for the 63rd Time

photoAmerican Red Cross volunteer Gerry Holmes believes donating blood is something significant he can do to help save lives.

Gerry first donated blood on his college campus when he was 18 years old. He had a good feeling knowing his blood helped someone in need back then, and still does today.

Since his college days, Gerry continues to roll up his sleeve three times a year at blood drives in the Greater Chicago Region. He has given blood 63 times over his lifetime, earning a 7 gallon pin in July 2014.

Congrats Gerry and thanksyou for helping save lives!

Story and photo by Catalina Alzate, American Red Cross Volunteer

The Power of a Blood Donation: Amy Jones

Growing up, Amy Jones made simple goals for herself: Attend college, become a teacher and start a family. She has accomplished everything she set out to achieve and enjoys life alongside her husband, Ryan, and their young son, Carter. But Amy’s journey was not easy. In fact, it almost never happened.

At 10 years old, Amy started to always feel tired and lethargic. She seemed to develop bruises on her body easily, and her skin turned yellow. Realizing this was not a typical condition, Amy’s mother took her to their doctor.

More than 100 blood and platelet donations helped save Amy’s life when she was younger, and now she encourages others to donate.

More than 100 blood and platelet
donations helped save Amy’s life when she was
younger, and now she encourages others to
donate.

Amy was diagnosed with leukemia and underwent high doses of chemotherapy treatments every six weeks. Like many other cancer patients, she received several blood and platelet transfusions.

“Chemotherapy was a difficult process because it’s just so draining,” she said. “But it was the donated blood and platelets I received that gave me the strength to help fight the cancer.”

Amy’s leukemia went into remission after two and a half years of ongoing treatment, then she was released from her doctors.

“My family and I thought we had beaten this,” Amy said. “But, unfortunately, this was just the beginning.”

Amy relapsed when she was 15, forcing her to endure more intense chemotherapy. After receiving more than 100 pints of donated blood and platelets, Amy’s cancer went into remission again.

Now, Amy has been cancer-free for several years and encourages others to donate lifesaving blood and platelets to help patients in need.

“Without dedicated blood and platelet donors, I wouldn’t have been able to grow up, get married and have my son,” she said. “I hope people realize that blood and platelet donations can not only help a patient in need, but have an impact on future generations. My family and I are living proof of that.”

©2012 The American National Red Cross.

redcrossblood.org | | 1-800-RED CROSS