#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

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