January is National Blood Donor Month!

Drayton Carlberg, donating blood for the first time at the 12 Hours of Giving on Decbember 23, 2013.
Drayton Carlberg, donating blood for the first time at the 12 Hours of Giving on December 23, 2013.

As National Blood Donor Month, January is a great time to recognize our incredible donors and remind everyone that the need for blood is constant. Just a few weeks ago on December 23, 55 new blood donors, joined hundreds of veteran donors for the 12 Hours of Giving Holiday Blood Drive. First-time blood donors,  Drayton Carlberg (right), Lia Capaldini (below), and Hunter Carlberg (bottom right) participated in this extraordinary event which collected 458 pints of blood – which was 92% of our goal!

Lia Capaldini, Augsburg College senior, donating blood for the first time at the 12 Hours of Giving on Decbember 23, 2013.
Lia Capaldini, Augsburg College senior, donating blood for the first time at the 12 Hours of Giving on Decbember 23, 2013.

Weather and road conditions have improved, but recent severe winter weather has taken a toll on blood and platelet donations, both regionally and across the country.  As of Thursday, Jan. 9, approximately 300 blood drives across 25 states were canceled across the U.S. due to the snow and extreme cold. The blood drive cancellations resulted in a shortfall of nearly 8,800 blood and platelet donations since Jan. 2. The Red Cross is seeing an urgent need for platelet donors, as well as blood donors with types O positive and negative, A negative and B negative blood. Eligible donors with these blood types are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to give in the coming days.

Hunter Carlberg (glasses)
Hunter Carlberg, donating blood for the first time at the 12 Hours of Giving on December 23, 2013.

So, in honor of National Blood Donor Month this January, please help us meet our blood donation goals. On average, the American Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood every day from volunteer blood and platelet donors to meet the needs of patients. Eligible donors in the North Central Blood Services Region can help boost donations immediately. Red Cross blood donation centers in the Region will temporarily offer extended hours to allow for more blood donation appointments. From Jan. 10 to Jan. 20, 2014 Red Cross blood donation centers will add one additional hour each day. Also, please join the Red Cross in thanking all blood donors for their help  in ensuring a stable blood supply for patients all across the country.

Gophers Bleed Maroon & Gold for the Red Cross

Katie Kranz congratulates Chuck Seymour on making his first blood donation. Both are University of Minnesota seniors and Homecoming Court Members. Photo credit: Megan Barnes/American Red Cross

The Golden Gophers turned out in spades for the Ninth Annual American Red Cross Homecoming Blood Drive at the University of Minnesota. Everyone—students, professors, and alumni came together to save lives.

For Chuck Seymour, a senior and Homecoming King Candidate, it was his first time donating blood (GO CHUCK!). With a lot of reluctance and slight fear of donating and needles, Chuck met Geoff Kaufmann, CEO of the American Red Cross North Central Blood Services Region, who led him through the entire donation process (GO GEOFF!).

Geoff explained that one whole blood donation typically can help save three lives. And with an average of 22-25 blood drives in Minnesota each day, this generates vital help to those who need the gift of life. “It’s so great that this generation is willing to donate,” said Geoff. “The older generation felt a dedication to supplying blood and a lot of these people aren’t able to anymore due to chronic diseases. So, it’s a great thing to see this generation step up and donate their time and blood. The University of Minnesota is a huge support to the American Red Cross and it’s always good to be here.”

To help ease fears, friendly student volunteers (GO GOPHERS!) wearing maroon & gold Legendary U Homecoming t-shirts created an inviting room filled with snacks and festive music for the donors. Gopher student volunteers helped care for people post donation by monitoring how they felt and offering juice, water and snacks. Their volunteer support showed that this generation of students is indeed Legendary.

Geoff Kaufmann comforts Kirby Schmidt while he donates blood during the University of Minnesota Legendary U blood drive with the American Red Cross. Photo credit: Megan Barnes/American Red Cross

Kirby Schmidt, another senior and Homecoming King Candidate, was proud to show his Gopher Pride by donating his 9th time (GO KIRBY!). He wants future University donors to know that it’s easy and anyone can do it. “I recommend eating a big bowl of Raisin Bran and drinking 3-4 glasses of water when starting your day of the donation.”

In all, approximately 125 volunteers and 220 potential donors participated, making this drive a major contributor and partner to this cause. This was done by including pre-registration for those on a tight schedule or quick registration for those who just happened to walk by and felt compelled to donate.

Click here to find a blood drive in your area.

M! I! N! N! E! S! O! T! A! MINNESOTA! MINNESOTA! YAAAAAY GOPHERS!

Story and photos by Megan Barnes/American Red Cross

Bashir gives blood in the room with a view

The view from the room with a view:

Bashir excited to be in the room with a view:

Bashir relaxing on a chaise in the room with a view:

A life-giving gift from Bashir in the room with a view:

Thank you, Bashir, for donating to one human from another in the room with a view:Click here to schedule a blood donation appointment in the room with a view.

Star Bank shines on Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes

The American Red Cross collected holiday cards throughout the past several weeks for distribution on military bases and hospitals, veterans’ hospitals and other locations in the U.S. and abroad.  More than a million cards were collected this year, bringing the total for Holiday Mail for Heroes to about 4.5 million cards during the past five years. One of the program’s strongest supporters is Star Bank in Eden Prairie. Katie Incantalupo explains why…

Katie Incantalupo (left) and service members helped collect more than 19,000 cards for the 2011 Holiday Mail for Heroes program. Photo courtesy of Star Bank.

The leaders of Star Bank, including both President and CEO Harry Wahlquist and I, have a strong commitment to the mission of the American Red Cross to provide relief to victims of disaster and to help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

We’ve been hosting quarterly blood drives at Star Bank in partnership with North Central Blood Services for about 12 months. Harry is a longtime Red Cross Board Member and I’m a Lifetime Member of the Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders within the Red Cross. I was elected to be a member of the National Council for Tiffany Circle in 2010, and my participation in that governing body brought forth the opportunity for me to lead the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign on a national level for the 2011 holiday season.

Katie Incantalupo (right) and Elena Luca (left), sign Holiday Mail for Heroes cards in Washington, DC. Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross

I have spoken with many service men and women over the past four months about the Holiday Mail campaign and have heard wonderful stories about how much it means to receive a card when you are serving away from home over the holidays. The card campaign makes a real difference in our service members’ lives. Star Bank hosted a card signing event that was well attended by members of the community, including several local “celebs.” I’m so excited that more than 19,000 holiday cards were signed in Minnesota alone this year!

Katie Incantalupo gets ready to donate blood. Photo courtesy of Star Bank.

It has been an honor to assist the Red Cross in growing awareness and participation on behalf of Holiday Mail for Heroes and I’m thankful that I’ve been able to serve the organization in this way, both personally and professionally.

Katie Incantalupo is a Red Cross volunteer and the Director of Marketing for Star Bank in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The mailbox for the 2011 Holiday Mail for Heroes program is now closed, but Americans wanting to help military members, veterans and their families can visit the Red Cross holiday giving catalog and click on “Help Our Troops.” The online catalog offers symbolic donations to help provide members of the Armed Forces with phone cards and comfort kits as well as assist homeless veterans, among many other options.

One for the money, two for the show

Three to get ready, now go cat go! His shoes weren’t blue or suede, but we were delighted to have Elvis on hand for the 2011 Run for Blood Quarter Marathon & 5K.

Elvis kicked of this year's Run for Blood, helping support the Red Cross. Photo credit: William Kahn/American Red Cross

More than 460 people raced around Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, helping to raise more than $10K for the Red Cross and its humanitarian mission to help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.

Thank you to Mr. Luther Hagen, event founder and all around booster for the Red Cross, and to everyone who helped make this event a great success.

Congratulations!

Our 2011 Red Cross Heroes

Thank you to everyone who helped make the 2011 Heroes Breakfast an outstanding event celebrating remarkable women and men in our community.

The 2011 American Red Cross Twin Cities Area Chapter Heroes Awards were presented during the annual Heroes Breakfast. Photo credit: Andy King/American Red Cross
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