Stars aligned for dancing, raising funds in Mankato

Local Red Cross board chair Ben Hoffmann in Dancing with the Mankato Stars. Photo Jackson Forderer/Mankato Free Press
Local Red Cross board chair Ben Hoffman performs in Dancing with the Mankato Stars. Photo Jackson Forderer/Mankato Free Press

For the fifth year, the stars aligned in Mankato for a successful Dancing With the Mankato Stars (DWTMS) on February 11, 2017.

More than 2,500 people filled the sold-out Verizon Event Center to watch 11 couples and one group of religious sisters dance to support the American Red Cross serving Southwest Minnesota. The event was spearheaded by the DWTMS board and Dance Express.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this event happen, including more than 30 Red Cross volunteers. Through sponsorships and donations, the event raised over $123,400.

Click here to see more great photos.

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

 

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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!

Six inspiring stories about people helping people

On May 6, the American Red Cross in Minnesota presented six awards that honored ten people for their heroic efforts helping others during great times of need. Below we share with you their inspiring stories.  

Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross
Six of ten heroes honored at the 2016 American Red Cross Minnesota Region’s Heroes Breakfast. They include (clockwise) Shawn Hansen, Bryden Bronikowski, Mike Clark, Jerry Nelson, Jenny Braith and Russ Braith. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross

Duluth teen Bryden Bronikowski was honored with the Youth Good Samaritan Hero Award for helping to save the life of his young cousin. “Panic is your worst enemy,” says Bryden. “Fearing anything can go wrong.” Watch Bryden’s story.

Nisswa Chamber of Commerce president Shawn Hansen received the Community Hero Award for being a vital part of daily coordination and communications during the windstorm disaster relief efforts in Nisswa in July 2015. “As human beings we have to focus on making the world better,” says Shawn. Watch Shawn’s story.

Mike Clark of Eagan received the Military Hero Award for supporting the needs of people in the armed forces. “It gives me an opportunity to connect with people that are just really down to earth,” says Mike. “And they’re really thankful for knowing there’s somebody out there who cares about them.” Watch Mike’s story.

Shoreview resident Jerry Nelson was honored with the Give Life Hero Award for his continuous blood donations and support of organ transplant families. “I’m not a hero for giving blood,” says Jerry. “Transplant patients and the people who get the blood are the heroes.” Watch Jerry’s story.

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Three Willmar police officers received Red Cross Heroes awards on May 6, 2016.

Willmar police officers Mike Jahnke, Joshua Helgeson, and Jeff Liebl were honored with the First Responder Hero Award for putting their lives on the line to resolve a potentially tragic situation. “He’s a human being,” says Josh. “It’s our job to help him, and that’s what we did.” Watch Mike, Josh, and Jeff’s story.

Greg Pint received a Red Cross Hero Award. Photo provided courtesy of Greg Pint.
On May 6, 2016, Greg Pint received a Red Cross Hero Award.

Montgomery residents Russ and Jenny Braith, and Lonsdale resident Greg Pint, were honored with the Good Samaritan Hero Award for putting their own lives at risk to save a man from a car going underwater. “I heard him hitting the buttons, the door locking, but no windows coming down,” says Russ. Watch Russ, Jenny and Greg’s story.

Click here to nominate someone for the 2017 Heroes Awards. Post by Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross.

You’re Invited To Meet Our Heroes

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Ten Amazing People

A few days ago, our region of the American Red Cross announced its 2016 Heroes Awards recipients. These ten people—whose extraordinary actions exemplify the Red Cross mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies—saved lives, connected communities, and supported children when they needed it most:

Community Hero Shawn Hansen, Nisswa
First Responder Heroes Sgt. Mike Jahnke & Officer Joshua Helgeson & Officer Jeff Liebl, Willmar
Give Life Hero Jerry Nelson, Shoreview
Good Samaritan Heroes Russ and Jenny Braith, Montgomery, and Greg Pint, Lonsdale
Military Hero Mike Clark, Eagan
Youth Good Samaritan Hero Bryden Bronikowski, Duluth

Powerful Stories That Inspire

You are invited to attend the 8th Annual Heroes Breakfast, which will take place on Friday, May 6, at the Radisson Blu Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. Tickets and table sponsorships are available online at redcross.org/mnheroes or by calling (612) 872-3241. During the breakfast you will hear powerful and inspiring stories about ten people helping others when they needed it most. The breakfast also is an opportunity to celebrate the Red Cross and its important humanitarian work.

Sponsors Make It Happen

Thank you to our 2016 Heroes Breakfast sponsors. This year’s sponsors include presenting sponsor Land O’Lakes, matching gift sponsor US Bank, award sponsors CenterPoint Energy, CHS, Medica, St. Jude Foundation, Anime Twin Cities, UnitedHealth, reception sponsor Navigate Forward, and vignette sponsor Patterson Companies. And thanks to the Minnesota Twins for donating game tickets to our heroes.

We look forward to seeing you on May 6!

4 Ways to #Help1Family on Red Cross Giving Day

GD16_FamilyIcons_FacebookNearly every eight minutes, the American Red Cross extends a helping hand to a family in need that has lost everything – the roof over their heads, their clothes, and their most cherished possessions – to a home fire. Across Minnesota and parts of western Wisconsin, the Minnesota Region of the American Red Cross has been busy helping neighbors. But your help is needed on one special day to continue to provide the emergency services that our neighbors depend on every day.

Red Cross Giving Day
On April 21, you have a chance to help families in need whenever and wherever they need it by participating in the national American Red Cross Giving Day to #help1family. A donation of $88.50 can provide a family with a day’s worth of food, plus blankets and other essentials. We’re proud of the disaster relief our region provided last year. This included supporting more than 2,300 people affected by local disasters, which were mostly home fires, and installing more than 1,000 smoke alarms to improve home fire safety.

rco_blog_img_GD16_IDonated_FacebookBecome a social ambassador
You can help spread the word about Giving Day – the more people who support Giving Day means we can help more families. Use your social media channels to reach out to friends and family and ask them to donate to #help1family. Here are four ways donations will #help1family:

1. Supporting a family in urgent need: provide funding to give a family a day’s worth of food, blankets, and other essentials.
2. Supplying warm meals: help provide hearty, comforting meals to people impacted by disasters.
3. Providing clean-up kits after a disaster strikes: make clean-up kits available for families in need that include vital items like a mop, bucket, and disinfectant.
4. Deploying an emergency response vehicle for a day: Red Cross workers travel to impacted neighborhoods in fully stocked Emergency Response vehicles to provide food, water and critical relief.

Imagine the impact that we could have on our community if everyone wanted to #help1family.

Thank you!

Red Cross workers: Tirelessly delivering disaster relief services

"I am so thankful to this community, my neighbors, and the Red Cross," says Monica Smith lost nearly everything when her home in floods in Deweyville, Texas. Photo Credit: Danuta Otfinowski/American Red Cross
“I am so thankful to this community, my neighbors, and the Red Cross,” says Monica Smith lost nearly everything when her home in floods in Deweyville, Texas. Photo Credit: Danuta Otfinowski/American Red Cross

As much of the country looks forward to Easter weekend, thousands of people in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi are still dealing with the impacts of severe and widespread flooding.

For more than two weeks, communities across the South and Gulf Coast have endured intense rainfall and record-breaking flooding. The Sabine River flooding on the Texas and Louisiana border has broken records held since the 1880s and the Red River in Louisiana hit its highest level in more than 70 years. And this week, portions of the southern U.S. will face the return of severe thunderstorms and flooding, raising additional flooding concerns for already drenched terrain throughout the lower Mississippi Valley.

The American Red Cross is there on the ground, working around the clock to support individuals and families in need. On Tuesday, March 22, more than 270 people spent the evening in 16 Red Cross and community shelters in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Since severe storms and flooding began earlier this month, more than 1,500 Red Cross disaster relief workers, both staff and volunteers have:

  • Opened 60 shelters which have provided more than 4,000 overnight stays;
  • Distributed more than 70,000 relief items; and
  • Served more than 170,000 meals and snacks for impacted residents.

As people return to their neighborhoods, many are finding their homes inundated with muddy brown water and sewage, and their property strewn with heavy piles of debris. Even if their homes don not appear destroyed from the outside, some people have mobile homes that were immersed in several inches or a foot of water and inaccessible for over a week—many of those homes are a total loss because of the duration they spent with water inside.

Monica and Robert Smith lost nearly everything when their Deweyville, Texas home filled with five feet of water last week. “Everything that we own is now in the yard. We only had a few hours to evacuate, so we left it all behind,” says Monica who has lived with her family in Deweyville her entire life and has never seen a flood of this magnitude. In the photo above, Monica shows a Red Cross volunteer just how high the water was. “I am so thankful to this community, my neighbors, and the Red Cross,” says Monica. “I am not sure how I would have handled this situation without help.”

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“Everyone here is so friendly and kind,” says Maybel Bordelon who received Red Cross relief supplies in Orange, Texas. Photo Credit: Danuta Otfinowski/American Red Cross

In addition to sheltering, the Red Cross is also helping to operate Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARC) throughout impacted areas. At these resource centers people can sit down a with Red Cross caseworker, as well as with government and community partner organizations that are offering assistance. Recovering from a disaster can be a confusing and trying process; resource centers help streamline relief information and aid so people can more easily find the help they need.

Impacted residents visit MARCs for cleanup supplies, hot meals, emotional counseling and health services, including 75-year-old Maybel Bordelon (pictured above) from Orange, Texas. “Everyone here is so friendly and kind. Everyone is town is talking about the help that Red Cross is providing. We are so thankful you are here.”

You can help
We need your continued support now to help people affected by disasters big and small. Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like flooding and countless other crises can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

Thank you!