During National Volunteer Month this April, the American Red Cross celebrates everyday heroes who offer their time and talent to help those in their community. Without the generosity of countless volunteers, from blood donors to blood drive volunteers, the Red Cross would be unable to fulfill its lifesaving mission and help patients in need.
There are many ways to give back through Red Cross Blood Services. Here are two extraordinary individuals making a difference in helping save lives.
THREE DECADES OF RED CROSS SERVICE
Joyce Blackmon, of Charlotte, N.C., has been a Red Cross volunteer for 36 years. She’s served the organization in numerous ways. Blackmon has volunteered with Service to the Armed Forces, taught First Aid and CPR, and served on Disaster Teams, deploying to more than 60 disasters across the country. Nowadays, she volunteers at the Charlotte Blood Donation Center on Wednesdays and Fridays. Little did she know that when she arrived for one of her shifts ten years ago, that she would make a lifelong friend in a fellow volunteer.
Sara Temple likes to do things for other people. When she first came to volunteer at the Red Cross ten years ago at the Charlotte Blood Donation Center, Temple happened to be assigned to the same shift as Blackmon. The two immediately hit it off, and they’ve volunteered together ever since. It seemed to be the perfect fit – and perhaps it was destiny.
“Oh my goodness – we just get along so well,” said Blackmon. “I look forward to seeing Sara each time I volunteer. I take care of my friends. She’s like family.”
“I love getting to meet the donors and greet them – it makes me feel good,” said Temple. “I really like coming to volunteer when Joyce is here – we’re a team!”
Red Cross staff and donors alike have noticed their unbreakable bond, and their uplifting spirits that bring joy to all around them.
“They are very special. Joyce has always had a tender heart towards Sara. They have grown to care about each personally and it shows,” said Volunteer Coordinator April Vanderhorst. “Every staff person knows Sara and Joyce and really look forward to Wednesdays and Fridays because of them! They are the bright spot of the day!”
HOW TO VOLUNTEER
Sign up today to join their ranks as a Red Cross volunteer and be part of the lifesaving work at the Red Cross. There are many ways people can get involved, and the Red Cross is looking for diverse volunteers of all ages and skill levels. Individuals can go to https://redcross.org/volunteer to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.
BLOOD AND PLATELET DONORS ARE VOLUNTEERS, TOO
Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be given every seven days – up to 24 times a year. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.