Platelet Donations Needed

Platelets are tiny cells in your blood that form clots and stop bleeding. For millions of Americans, they are essential to surviving and fighting cancer, chronic diseases, and traumatic injuries. Every 30 seconds someone in the U.S. needs platelets. And because platelets must be used within five days, new donors are needed every day. That’s why we need you.  That’s why 4-year-old Graden Hansen from Bloomer, WI needs you.
bloodblog1In September, 2016, Graden was diagnosed with acute lymphblastic leukemia, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow and has had to depend on blood and platelet transfusions to help him fight the disease.

The American Red Cross recently issued an emergency alert for platelet and blood donors.

“Right now we are at an emergency alert level,” explained Communications Manager for the American Red Cross Sue Thesenga. “During November and December, the Red Cross collected 37,000 units less than we expected, so we’re trying to make up that shortfall.”

Every 30 seconds someone in the United States needs platelets, and because platelets must be used within five days, new donors are needed every day. That is why the American Red Cross began collecting platelets on Jan. 7 at the Chippewa Valley Blood Donation Center, 3485 E. Hamilton Ave.bloodblog

“Most people don’t realize, but cancer patients or people with life threatening illnesses that have bleeding involved, really need platelets,” Thesenga said. “It’s really important to have a staple supply of platelets available at hospitals because they only have a shelf life of 5 days, so we it’s really important to have so we can meet patient demand.”

During a platelet donation, blood is collected by a device that separates platelets, along with some plasma, from whole blood and returns the remaining blood components back to the donor. The entire process takes about two to three hours to ensure a full donation. Donors are encouraged to relax during the donation, and the Red Cross center has videos, television and wireless internet available.

Donors are able to donate platelets every seven days, up to 24 times a year. In comparison, people donating whole blood are eligible to donate every 56 days, up to six times a year.

To donate or to find out more information about donating platelets in Eau Claire, download the new American Red Cross donor app, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit http://www.redcrossblood.org.

Welcome Rich Seymour

rich-seymourWe’re proud to announce that Rich Seymour has joined the Wisconsin team as our Service to the Armed Forces Director! Just retiring from the Army after 30 years, Rich is excited to start a career where he will continue to care for service members, veterans and their families.

During his illustrious work with the Army, he completed multiple deployments and attained the rank of Command Sergeant Major, the highest enlisted rank in the Army. Throughout his career he became familiar with and utilized the Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces.

“I continuously used Red Cross as a tool to help the soldiers and families that I had under my leadership. I can give you hundreds of stories where Red Cross services contributed to the morale and welfare of the Armed Forces members.”

Originally from Baraboo, Wisconsin, he’s called many places “home” over the years -the Republic of Panama, South Korea, and various places stateside. Along for the ride have been his wife and two sons – and his dogs, too.

We could not be more excited to have Rich on the Red Cross team and back in his home state of Wisconsin!

If you’d like to get involved with the Red Cross, click here.

To look at Red Cross employment opportunities, click here.

Red Cross Blood Drive Held in Honor of Abby Droessler

Hayward community encouraged to pay it forward in honor of local teen seriously injured in watercraft accident

HAYWARD, Wis. — Last July, the unimaginable happened when 15-year-old Abby Droessler was involved in a jet ski accident resulting in a two-inch laceration to her upper thigh. Family members were able to get Abby to shore where she received emergency medical treatment before being taken by ambulance to the local hospital. Severe weather prevented air ambulance transport, so Abby was rushed to Duluth, Minnesota, by ground ambulance. Losing blood rapidly, Abby owes her life to the fact that there was access to enough blood during the 90-minute ambulance trip in the storm.

Upon arrival in Duluth, Abby underwent her first surgery. Surgeons repaired two severed veins and discovered that she also damaged her femoral artery. Abby received 13 units of blood and plasma the first night and additional blood transfusions during the seven days she spend in the intensive care unit.

Eight surgeries were needed to repair the trauma on Abby’s leg and she has received blood and plasma throughout her treatments.

Abby is an extremely ambitious young lady. She is a strong, healthy athlete who enjoys riding and showing her horses, track, volleyball and hunting. She is involved in 4H horse projects and volunteers for church and community events. Today, she is getting back to some of the activities she loves. It will be a long recovery for Abby, but she is grateful to be progressing and healing every day.

To help pay it forward, Abby’s family is hosting a blood drive in her honor to help others that need lifesaving blood.

Donate Blood in Honor of Abby Droessler
Thursday, Dec. 8, from 1-7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 9, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
10586 N. Dakota Ave. Hayward, WI

To make an appointment to donate, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

“People believe that something like this could never happen to them, said Abby’s parents, Meghan and Ben Droessler. “We certainly never thought that Abby, a healthy, active teenager, would ever be the one in need of blood. We think it’s important for people that are healthy to take the initiative to share that gift of good health by giving back to those that need it. Someday you just might find yourself in the position to need blood,” they added.

It’s the blood products on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency. When seconds matter, having a readily available blood supply is critical to trauma patient care. When there is not time to determine a patient’s blood type, such as in trauma situations, type O negative blood and type AB plasma are what emergency personnel reach for because they can be given to patients with any blood type.

“We would like to stress how thankful we are that our small community hospital had blood here for Abby to receive,” said her mother. “We will be the first to say that we take that for granted.”

The Hayward community is encouraged to make an appointment for the Dec. 8-9 blood drive to help ensure a sufficient blood supply. A seasonal decline in donations often occurs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day when donors get busy with family gatherings and travel. However, patients don’t get a holiday vacation from needing lifesaving transfusions. In fact, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.

How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. 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.

Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

Holiday for Heroes

The Red Cross Holidays for Heroes program enables Americans to “Give Something That Means Something” this holiday season and beyond! New this year, you are invited to share holiday-mailappreciation to active military, reservists, Veterans and their families throughout the year. The Red Cross collects holiday cards, and new this year overall “thank you” cards with a goal is to present to local service members and Veterans multiple times a year.  You can join in the fun with your club, civic organization, business and family by making the cards and we will deliver them for you.

 When preparing cards:

Do…

▪ Choose or create cards for a wide audience such as Happy Holiday or Seasons Greetings or Thank You!

▪ When using store bought cards try choosing a variety of designs to make the gift all the more special.

▪ Include your heartfelt sentiments and sign all cards.holiday-mail2

▪ Entitle cards with generic terms such as “Dear Service Member or Veteran”

▪ Bundle groups of cards in single, large envelopes (you do not need to include the individual envelopes for cards when mailing in multiple cards)

Don’t…

▪ Send inserts of any kind, letters, care packages, money or gift cards

▪ Include personal information such as home or email addresses

▪ Use glitter – excessive amounts can aggravate health issues of wounded recipients

▪ Send personal photos

You can also personally deliver them to the Black River Falls, Wausau, Oshkosh, Green Bay, Madison or Milwaukee offices by December 16th.  Cards delivered to the Altoona office should arrive no later than December 9th as they have a sorting event on December 13th which allows enough time Veterans Home in Chippewa Falls Holiday gathering on December 20th.

Cards can be mailed to: American Red Cross, 4860 Sheboygan Avenue, Madison, WI 53705.  Attn: SAF – Holiday For Heroes

In addition, we will also collect messages on jumbo holiday cards  and will then distribute them to military installations, VA Hospitals, State Veteran Homes and more to say thank you.

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Volunteers at Lambeau Field on Nov. 6th have fans sign Holiday cards.

 

For more information, please contact John.Kost@redcross.org if you have questions about cards or want to participate in card sorting and delivery!

4th Annual Disaster Training Conference

Last week, the Wisconsin Region conducted our 4th  annual Disaster Training Conference. Though the conference was held on the shores of Green Lake, attendees paid little attention to beautiful autumn scenery outside. The 183  attendees, Red Cross volunteers and staff from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, enjoyed four days of learning, sharing and networking.

The broad range of classes provided opportunities for brand new volunteers and seasoned veterans. The newest volunteer had been with the Red Cross for only two days and several in attendance had more than 20-years of service. Classes were offered to provide instruction on delivering the Red Cross mission, supervision & leadership along with diversity & inclusion. Workshops built upon classroom instruction and provided hands-on opportunities to set-up a shelter, conduct damage assessment and manage a disaster relief operation.

On Wednesday night, Red Cross volunteers partnered with the Berlin Fire Department to make homes in Berlin safer. They visited homes and provided smoke alarms testing, free smoke alarm installation, home evacuation planning and fire safety tips. 25 homes were visited and 69 smoke alarms were installed.  Community outreach like this is happening around the state and more than 10,000 smoke alarms will installed this year alone!

By all reports, the Disaster Training Conference was a wonderful success! It was wonderful to see so many Red Crossers come together to learn and celebrate together. Plans for next year’s conference are already underway. We hope to see you there!

 

Hurricane Matthew – WI Responds

Hurricane Matthew. Thousands of people in shelters. Thousands of relief workers responding. Too many lives lost. This disaster is a big one, for all of us, requiring many hands, heads, and hearts pulling together to help others in dire need. Shelter, food, and relief supplies are American Red Cross priorities.

Blood and platelet donations are needed from people in unaffected areas to make up for canceled drives. Check out the stories below. They’ll show you how the Red Cross is helping.

You Just Gotta Be Strong: a video from the American Red Cross features Terry, a shelter resident who was forced to evacuate his home in Tarboro, North Carolina, because of Hurricane Matthew

Haiti Needs Help from All of Usan opinion piece from American Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern published in Huffington Post addresses rumors, issues, and concerns about disaster relief responses in Haiti. False information shared on the internet hurts people who need our help the most

Suffering Continues After Hurricane Matthew: a news release from the American Red Cross with details about how the Red Cross is responding to the disaster in the U.S. and in Haiti

From Wisconsin, there are more than 80 Red Cross relief workers deployed to help in the affected areas. More will likely be on their way in the days to come.

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Lori and Kevin Peterson and Gerry and Jim Gilmore drove their Emergency Response Vehicles from Wisconsin and are serving thousands of meals, water and distributing cleaning supplies to residents in the hardest hit areas.  

Please support this relief effort. Click here to donate money to Red Cross disaster relief. Click here to make a blood or platelet donation appointment.

Thank you!

How You Can Prepare & Prevent Home Fires

It’s National Fire Safety Week (October 9th-October 15th)!

Timing is precious when escaping home fires. You may have as little as 2 minutes to escape. Are you and your family prepared in case of a home fire or know how to prevent them?

An essential step is to install the right number of smoke alarms. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year. You can request for a smoke alarm from the Red Cross at www.getasmokealarm.org. Be sure to know 2 ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.

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Red Cross Volunteers, Cindy Warner, Tom Davis, Peggy Leapley RN with evacuee Martin Freerks

A family of 2 share their Red Cross story about the fire that occurred in their California home.

He worries. She reassures.

As they prepared to leave the American Red Cross shelter at the First Baptist Church in Lake Isabella (CA) when evacuation orders were lifted for the Alta Sierra area, Martin Freerks agreed to one more step.

Through a donation from the local Home Depot, the Kern County regional office of the American Red Cross supplied his mom, Marcela, with box fans and air purifiers to ease any respiratory issues upon returning to her hilltop home.  In addition, Red Cross shelter volunteers Tom Davis (WI) and Cindy Warner (PA) installed five smoke alarms on 8/27/16 replacing the old ones throughout the two-story house.

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Volunteers installing smoke alarms on the second floor.

During the visit with Martin in late August, area residents still had to show proof of residence, and fire engines were still posted around the property monitoring backfires nearby.

It was during his school summer break when Martin caught a glimpse of the glow from the Cedar Fire.  He and his mother started packing everything they could in his medium-sized car. “I started moving what was flammable away from the house like the chairs.”  He pointed at the “dozer” lines and the melted metal next to the Kern-River-Valley-bleached bones.  The house was spared as were trees, rosemary and lemongrass on the property.

During their stay at the Red Cross shelter in Lake Isabella, Martin and his mom found a place that was air-conditioned, where they could sleep, shower, have three meals, snacks, and access information via the Internet and wide-screen television.  The shelter team included a nurse who would monitor any health issues manifested by the evacuees.

Hopefully, as mother and son gather their belongings and get their lives back to normal, the smoke alarms will be another safety step. When Martin returns to start Graduate School in a few months, he will be reassured—and she will be less worried—about the danger of home fires.

Be Prepared for a Home Fire – Communication is key!

  • Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
  • Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
  • Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

 

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Evacuee Martin Freerks shows workers, Tom Davis and Cindy Warner, the dozer tracks along the perimeter of his property.

For more tips, visit www.redcross.org/firesafety. If you’d like to donate and help those recover from home fires, click here.