Hey, Red Cross bloodmobile, you’ve come a long way baby!

Story by Sue Thesenga of North Central Blood Services and
Abby Arthaud 
of Southwest Blood Services Region 

Red Cross blood truck, ca. 1940s. Image: University of Minnesota

You’ve probably seen one rolling down the road or through your town on its way to a blood drive — an American Red Cross bloodmobile. They allow blood drive organizers to host drives anywhere, making it more convenient for donors to give near home, work or school.

A self-contained bloodmobile from 1957. Among the first in the nation, it was paid for by the St. Paul Masonic Women.

Throughout the years, Red Cross bloodmobiles have changed, but their mission has stayed the same—to help fulfill the need for blood donations.

As far back as WWII and the Korean War, requests for blood for the armed forces reached St. Paul and donated blood was included in air shipments overseas. The successful efforts of collection centers throughout the war spurred calls from the nation’s hospitals and other medical facilities for an ongoing civilian blood program.

Train bloodmobile

In January 1949, the first mobile operation from the St. Paul Blood Center was deployed to North Branch, Minnesota. This was one of the first self-contained, traveling blood donation centers and transformed blood collection. Another bloodmobile was put into operation in the St. Paul region in 1950 to help serve 32 additional counties. Since then, self-contained bloodmobiles have been adopted across the nation and world.

American Red Cross bloodmobile of today

Today’s bloodmobiles are fully equipped for blood collection and short-term blood storage, featuring open floor plans, climate control, advanced technology and spacious interiors. They are designed to be more comfortable and enhance the donor experience. The newest bloodmobiles include special features for donors, such as iPads on each donor bed with all of the Red Cross apps and an LCD billboard on the exterior that tells passersby which blood types are currently most needed.

Today’s bloodmobile interior

Bloodmobiles travel all over the state every day to fulfill the constant need for blood. From planes, trains and bloodmobiles, the mission of the Red Cross is to ensure patients get the blood products they need wherever they need them, whenever they need them. Some things never change!

Help us celebrate 100 years of Red Cross service in Minnesota. Click here to find a blood drive near you. Click here to share your Red Cross story. 

#JoasStrong blood drive raises awareness for need

On March 8, MHC Software in Burnsville, Minn., hosted the #JoasStrong blood drive, collecting 41 pints of blood in honor of employee Bryan Joas. While riding a bicycle home from work on March 8, 2016, Bryan was hit by a car that fled the scene of the accident. The accident left him with life-threatening injuries that required 12 surgeries during his 88-day hospital stay. During this time, he received at least 35 units of blood and 11 units of platelets to help save his life. Now, Bryan and his wife Shauna are dedicated to raising awareness about the need for blood donation. You never know when you or someone you love will need blood, says Bryan. “Without lifesaving blood, my condition might be very different. I’m living proof that blood helps save lives.”

Bryan and wife Shauna were blood donors before the accident. And once they even went on a blood donation date! Although Bryan has some ongoing medical issues, he’s working full-time and looking forward to riding his bicycle again this spring and summer. Although unable to donate blood right now, hopes that he will be able to in the future. “I’m just a cheerleader right now, but I hope to be able to donate in the future,” he says. Bryan’s story is a testimony that blood on the shelves help save lives. Thanks to all people working to ensure that the Red Cross is able to support a stable blood supply for hospitals and patients we serve.

To help ensure a sufficient supply for patients, make an appointment to give now at rcblood.org/2nqkmU8. Click here to learn about hosting an American Red Cross blood drive; or contact Mary Pucel, Donor Recruitment Director, at mary.pucel@redcross.org or 651-291-3366.

Story and photo by Sue Thesenga, American Red Cross North Central Blood Services

Raising Awareness One Step at a Time – 2016 Run for Blood

2016 Run for Blood, Minneapolis, MN. Photo credit: Jonathan Yoon/American Red Cross

Story by Jonathan Yoon

On July 23, 2016, the American Red Cross Minnesota Region, in sponsorship with Smiths Medical, held its 8th annual Run for Blood 5K at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.

Considering there was a slight chance of rain throughout the duration of the race, the attendance of nearly 300 people was a great turnout this year. The 2016 Run for Blood proved to be everything but ordinary. Food carts, music, dance groups, and various stands were all a part of the event, but there was something even more important to the race.

Patrick Henry High School Step Team, 2016 Run for Blood, Minneapolis, MN. Photo credit: Jonathan Yoon/American Red Cross
Patrick Henry High School Step Team, 2016 Run for Blood, Minneapolis, MN. Photo credit: Jonathan Yoon/American Red Cross

While the Run for Blood 5K might be about getting to the end of the line with family, friends, or solo, little do people know of the impact this run and walk event has on the surrounding community. Right now, someone in the United States needs blood or platelets every two seconds. With the donation van onsite, many runners were able to give lifesaving blood and race proceeds to over 108 hospitals in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Iowa. This race was and continues to be a great way for families, friends and coworkers to rally together and raise awareness for the need for blood.

Race and walk start, 2016 Run for Blood, Minneapolis, MN. Photo credit: Jonathan Yoon/American Red Cross
Race and walk start, 2016 Run for Blood, Minneapolis, MN. Photo credit: Jonathan Yoon/American Red Cross

At 8:30 a.m., the runners and walkers began lining up at the start line, getting ready to show their physical stamina, strength, or a mix of both. In addition to the number of solo runners, the race would not have been as exciting without the various teams. Such teams included “Faster than Disaster” to “Walking Disasters.” While some groups may have been an understatement of their actual pace, everyone found one way or another to enjoy the 3.10 miles of the race around Lake Calhoun. It was encouraging to see people of all ages and size willing to come together and strive towards the Run for Blood ultimate mission: raising awareness for the never-ending need of blood.

Walkers, too, during the 2016 Run for Blood, Minneapolis, MN. Photo credit: Jonathan Yoon/American Red Cross
Walkers, too, during the 2016 Run for Blood, Minneapolis, MN. Photo credit: Jonathan Yoon/American Red Cross

A number of thank you letters go out to a number of people. First and foremost, this race would not have been as athletic or competitive without the runners who gave some of their money to donate for a better cause and run or walk the five kilometers. Second, the sponsors, including presenting sponsor Smiths Medical, and hydration station sponsor Culligan, and tech T-shirt sponsor Western National Insurance, that helped fund the raise, continue to make these events happen. And, great thanks to the event volunteers! No matter the level of importance, the American Red Cross 2016 Run for Blood could not have happened without you and we are incredibly grateful for your work.

Volunteers and staff, 2016 Run for Blood, Minneapolis, MN. Photo credit: Carrie Carlson-Guest/American Red Cross
Volunteers and staff, 2016 Run for Blood, Minneapolis, MN. Photo credit: Carrie Carlson-Guest/American Red Cross

While some of you were unable to attend this event, there are always different ways in how you can aid this blood shortage going on. There are four American Red Cross donation centers within the Twin Cities and all you need to do is schedule an appointment. Maybe the next time you hear the phrase, “Ready, Set, Go” you’ll think of a different phrase: Ready, Set, Donate by signing up for the 2017 Run for Blood 5K next summer!

Tech T-shirt, 2016 Run for Blood, Minneapolis, MN. Photo credit: Jonathan Yoon/American Red Cross
Tech T-shirt, 2016 Run for Blood, Minneapolis, MN. Photo credit: Jonathan Yoon/American Red Cross

 

A fun summer run that raises awareness about the constant need for blood

 

rco_blog_img_RFB_Danielle
Danielle Anselment received 40 units of blood that helped save her life.

One year ago Danielle Anselment started to hemorrhage while giving birth to her fifth child. It was remarkable, doctors said, that she pulled through. Donated blood on the shelves made the difference. To save her life, doctors gave Danielle 40 pints of blood and platelets. Without it she might not be here to take care for her family. Her husband Shaun would likely be a single parent with five young children. She’s living proof, she says, that blood makes a world of difference.

Danielle, who’s a sergeant with the Eagan Police Department, has joined forces with the American Red Cross and the 2016 Run for Blood, an annual event that raises awareness for the constant need for blood. This 5K run and walk, and community blood drive will be held on July 23 at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. The Run for Blood is fun summer event that supports American Red Cross North Central Blood Services, which provides lifesaving blood products to 108 hospitals in Minnesota, western Wisconsin, eastern South Dakota and northwest Iowa.

Run for Blood 2015, Minneapolis, MN
Run for Blood 2015, Minneapolis, MN

Whether you are a blood recipient or blood donor, or you know someone who has needed blood, you can find a fit for participating in this fun summer event. You can form a team, join a team, donate blood, or cheer on runner and walkers. The Run for Blood is family-friendly, and new this year is a Pint-Size Corner featuring kid dashes, games, and face painting.

Register online at redcross.org/mn. Blood donors can also sign-up to give blood using sponsor code “Run for Blood” in the free Red Cross Blood App. Same day registrations for the run/walk and to donate blood are also welcome. Each participant will receive a free tech T-shirt and swag bag with items and coupons from local businesses.

The 2016 Run for Blood will raise awareness about the constant need for blood.
The 2016 Run for Blood will raise awareness about the constant need for blood.

Thank you to Run for Blood presenting sponsor Smiths Medical. Special thanks to our water sponsor Culligan and T-shirt sponsor Western National Insurance. And many thanks to the volunteers who help make this event a fun and safe event to everyone!

Red Cross blood donor ambassador makes pay back a great act of service

BloodDonorAmbassador_PhotoSteveSanfordDuring the Vietnam War, Steve Sanford was seriously injured. The Red Cross helped him communicate what was happening to his family back home. He later was decorated with the Purple Heart for being wounded during military service.

This early connection with the Red Cross, and its work supporting American soldiers, helped Steve decide that he wanted to pay back a decades-old good deed. So after he retired from a career in food and mail services, Steve became a Red Cross volunteer.

“I’ve gotten to know the donors and staff very well, and it’s my honor to ensure donors have the best experience possible when they come to give,” says Steve. “I love meeting new people, and I’ve made a lot of great friendships by volunteering with the Red Cross!”

Since 2011, Steve has served as a blood donor ambassador at blood drives in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area. Blood donor ambassadors have an important role welcoming and guiding blood donors during drives, ensuring donor wellness after blood donation, and providing friendly, courteous and knowledgeable assistance to blood donors, staff, community partners and visitors.

Sanford has served as a donor ambassador at numerous blood donation centers and area blood drives including the Minnesota State Fair, 12 Hours of Giving, KARE 11 and many others. He has logged nearly 3,000 volunteer hours to date! Currently, he greets and assists donors at the North Suburban Blood Donation Center in Arden Hills twice a week, and always with a big, cheery smile on his face.

“We’re incredibly fortunate to have dedicated volunteers like Steve who are so generous with their time,” says Arika Quick, manager of volunteer resources for Red Cross blood services in Minnesota. “Steve is a role model for new volunteers and has been instrumental in helping train and mentor new volunteers. He’s a great example of someone who truly wants to make a difference by supporting the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross.”

133903-March-is-Red-Cross-Month-Facebook-FINAL3Sanford is also a dedicated blood donor, having reached 22 gallons. His first blood donation was May 6, 1966, at St. Paul College. Since that time he has donated whole blood, double red cells, platelets and white cells as often as possible. Health issues have prevented him from donating since last summer, but he hopes that in the near future he’ll donate again.

“When you volunteer with the Red Cross you become part of a group of people who truly make a difference in the lives of people in serious medical need,” Steve says. “You just don’t know when you or a loved one will be the one in need.”

Everyday the Red Cross relies on the dedicated efforts of volunteers like Steve to collect the blood products needed to treat patients across the country. You, too, can help others in a way that makes a real difference in people’s lives. Become a Red Cross blood donor ambassador and #BeAHero during Red Cross Month and for months to come. For more information, contact (651) 291-3360 or ncvolunteerresouces@redcross.org.

Story by Sue Thesenga, Communications Manager for American Red Cross North Central Blood Services

Help prevent a blood donation shortage

January 2016 Urgent Need_Stamp GraphicUpdate: On January 25 the American Red Cross issued an emergency appeal for blood and platelet donations following recent severe weather that has forced the cancellation of more than 300 blood drives across 20 states. The result is more than 9,500 donations uncollected, further depleting an already low winter supply. Blood donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

12 January 2016 — Every day in January hundreds of additional donations of blood and platelets are urgently needed for patients across the United States.

Severe winter weather in some areas of the country has already forced the cancellation of approximately 30 blood drives this month, resulting in over 1,100 uncollected donations. More cancellations are likely.

Hectic holiday schedules in November and December contributed to about 1,700 fewer blood drives held, and 50,000 less donations collected, than the two previous months.

Charilie_BloodMeanwhile, blood products are being distributed to hospitals as quickly as they are coming in for patients like 2-year-old Charlie who has leukemia. Click here to meet Charlie and her mom.

Blood and platelet donors of all types are needed to reverse the declining supply and help ensure blood products continue to be available. A shortage can be avoided if at least two more donors – above what’s currently expected – come to donate at every Red Cross blood drive in January.

January 2016 Urgent Need_InfographicOn average, the Red Cross must collect 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. Blood and platelets are often needed to respond to emergencies large and small, including the personal ones that occur in communities across the country every day involving accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

January 2016 Urgent Need_Empty bedEligible blood donors with types O, B negative and A negative blood are encouraged to donate double red cells where available. During a double red cell donation, two units of red blood cells are collected while most of the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor.

Make an appointment now to help replenish the blood supply by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Help ensure a sufficient blood supply throughout the holidays

Winter 2015_Thanksgiving Critical Day ImageAs the holidays approach, people are getting busy – organizing dinner parties, plotting out Black Friday shopping strategies and planning family get-togethers. Lots of fun stuff awaits, and people want to feel good for the holidays, but not everyone does. Patients in hospitals are still in need of blood products from generous donors in good health.

Donors are especially needed in the weeks leading up to and after the holidays. Blood and platelet donations often decline from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day when festivities pull people away from their donation appointments. This often causes a drop in the blood available for patients in the winter months.

You can give someone the chance to feel better before the holidays are in full swing. Be part of something meaningful, and give blood or platelets through the American Red Cross to help someone hurt or sick. If you are unable to give blood, you can still help by hosting a Red Cross virtual blood drive, volunteering or making a financial donation.

As Thanksgiving approaches, reflect on your blessings and look for ways to give back to the community or someone less fortunate. Remember that giving an hour of your time and donating blood could give a patient needing blood the most valuable gift of all – the gift of life. Many families have started giving blood together on Thanksgiving Day, or over the Thanksgiving weekend, as a way of giving back and giving thanks.

To help encourage blood donations around the holidays, the American Red Cross has teamed up with celebrity chefs John Besh, Richard Blais, Rocco DiSpirito, Mike Isabella, Ellie Krieger and Ali Larter to bring gourmet recipes to donors’ kitchens. Those who come out to donate blood or platelets November 25-29 will receive a Red Cross mixing spoon and celebrity chef recipes, while supplies last.

Make a blood or platelet donation appointment now by downloading the Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS. Please share the need with others in your social network and use the hashtag #GiveWithMeaning.