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

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. | | 1-800-RED CROSS

Frequent and first-time blood donors share a desire to help

Paul KruegerPaul Kreuger has donated blood 10 times. This time, the American Red Cross gave him a golden pin for donating a gallon of blood over the years.

Paul says he is glad he can help someone in need. “If I can and am eligible, then I should donate,” he said at a Chicago blood drive. “What’s stopping you?”

The Red Cross is grateful for long-time donors like Paul, and for first-time donors like Christina Theodorou, who overcame herChristina Theodorou fear of needles because she wanted to help save lives. As a medical student, Christina understands the need for blood through her research in thalassemia, a disorder that requires patients to undergo regular blood transfusions. Blood donations help these patients and many more. A total of 30 million blood components are transfused each year in the United States and more than 44,000 blood donations are needed every day.

Christina and Paul are not alone. They are joined by other donors who want to help save lives. Kristin Cleary, a frequent blood donor, realized her O positive blood is the second most needed blood type. Her time in the military reserves encouraged her to roll up her sleeve to donate to the Red Cross.

The donation process is simple. Start to finish, the process takes about an hour. The donation itself lasts about 8 to 10 minutes, but the gratification remains long after that.

Blood donors are extraordinary for stopping to take time out of their day to contribute to the urgent need for blood. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. Join the cause by looking up a local blood drive near you.

—Written by: Amisha Sud

Giving Blood to Give Back

Blood Photo

Katerina Svigos showed up to work at Groupon on an arctic Friday morning, blocked out time in her calendar and put her name on the list. This wasn’t, however, any ordinary list.  This list was to save someone’s life – just like the person who saved her cousin’s. Katerina signed up to give blood.

In October of 2012, Katerina nearly lost her cousin. He was outside at a party and fell from a fourth-story balcony. He survived, but the fall broke his back and both of his legs. He was rushed to the hospital that very night where he received three blood transfusions the first weekend he was in the hospital. Recalling the severity of the accident, Katerina said soberly, “it was the 3 blood transfusions that saved his life.” This was her first time giving blood. “I wanted to give back,” she said.

Katerina’s gift is unprecedented. That’s because there is no replacement for blood and every 2 seconds someone in the United States needs it. The Chicagoland region currently uses 6 times more blood than it collects. But on Friday, February 1st, 81 Groupon employees signed up to give blood and the Red Cross collected 71 units. The successful drive not only created the potential to save up to 213 lives, it gave people like Katerina the opportunity to give back in a way that no other type of donation can generate.

Katerina said her cousin is stable now, working on his recovery and is maintaining a positive spirit. She told her cousin that she gave blood because of him.

“He is so thankful,” she said, “he realizes it is other people that saved him.”

Written by: Bridget Ballek

They donated blood. What have you done today?

ImageFor Robert Smatlak and Evelyn Ramos, donating blood is nothing more than a “finger prick.” But blood donation can go a long way to help someone in need.

At a recent blood donation drive hosted by the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, Robert and Evelyn joined many other donors to help someone who might need their blood someday. A veteran donor, Robert has been donating blood since he was 18 years old and said that 80 percent of his donations are through the Red Cross. When asked about what motivates him to donate, Robert said, “My sister is a lab technician and always keeps mentioning about the shortage of blood. “

For Evelyn, karma played a very important role in her decision to donate blood.  “You never know what can happen and which person might need it. I like the feeling that my blood might help someone. I might need blood someday so I’d like to give back,” she said.

Both of them were fully convinced that they will donate whenever they get the opportunity and that it’s the right thing to do!

Donations are down more than 10 percent across the country, resulting in 50,000 fewer pints of blood than expected. Your donation is needed now. Find out here about a blood drive near you.

 “The need is constant and the gratification is instant.”


–Written By: Amisha Sud


Want to Save a Life? Give Blood.

Blood is everywhere. Blood is the central theme for our favorite shows, war video games and horror movies. We are not a squeamish nation. The sight of blood doesn’t have us searching for our fainting salts or produces nightmares. Five movies of SAW is proof of our sturdy constitution. The American Red Cross like the rest of the nation is partial to the sight of large supplies of blood. We like to have our blood bank overflowing with healthy and viable blood that is ready to save lives. Currently, the American Red Cross is experiencing a shortage of blood donations, which poses a challenge when demand for blood remains steady.

One pint of blood can save up to 3 lives. Only 3% of Americans donate blood. The following reasons may help inspire you to give blood:

• Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
• More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day.
• More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of
them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
• A total of 30 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.
• A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
• The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event
• Sickle cell disease affects more than 80,000 people in the U.S., 98 percent of
whom are African American. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood
transfusions throughout their lives.

Join the 3% of the population and help save lives. Give Blood.

To find a local blood drive, visit
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Make a Difference With a Blood Donation

You don’t have to be a superhero to make a difference in someone’s life. Even donating a pint of blood goes a long way in preparing and helping a community. Ordinary people took some time out of their busy schedules to give blood at the American Red Cross blood drive hosted by Loyola University. Some came to continue a legacy; others were first-timers who felt it was their way of giving back to society.

“My grandmother gets blood transfusions regularly and I’m just trying to catch up,” said Jeff McDonald, a law student at Loyola University. Jeff’s grandmother is 101 years old and the transfusions boost her health and mental disposition, he said.

Another blood donor, James Wade, was there to fulfill a family commitment. “My dad always gave blood so I’m keeping up the tradition,” Wade said.

One person in the United States needs a blood transfusion every two seconds. Blood and platelets are also used for trauma victims-those who suffered accidents and burns-heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, premature babies and for patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or other diseases, such as sickle cell disease. Thus, the need is unending.

Recently, the American Red Cross sent out an urgent appeal for blood donations. The extreme winter weather and predictions of upcoming storms caused 14,000 blood donation cancellations this season. And this is the first time in ten years that the Red Cross blood supply has dropped this low.

Blood donor, Greg Vera, considers it to be his responsibility. “Giving blood is so accessible that it’s inexcusable not to if you can. For me personally, it’s almost to be like a moral obligation. I try to give once every 8 weeks,” he added.

Donors at the Loyola blood drive had the chance to meet reality star Jillian Harris of the Bachelor and Extreme Home Makeover. Harris is a long time blood donor and also encourages people who are eligible to give blood. While lying on the cot waiting for her turn, she said it was the easiest way to make a big difference in someone’s life.

To schedule an appointment for a blood donation today, please visit, You can also visit for more information.

Written by Erica Serna and Maliha Sadiq.

To see more photos from the Loyola blood drive visit our Flickr page.