Today I’m commemorating September 11th by spending the day with hundreds of people who have come out to Fenway Park in Boston to donate blood for the Day of Remembrance Blood Drive. Along with the Boston Red Sox, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the City of Boston, we started hosting this blood drive ten years ago as a way for people to remember the tragic events of September 11th by giving back to their communities.
I’m humbled to be joined today by 9/11 families, community leaders, and police, fire and EMS representatives. It’s inspiring to see the community turn out to commemorate this day and to give back by donating blood to help a complete stranger.
I had the honor of meeting the Heidcamp family this morning. On September 11, 2001, Maura Heidcamp was on the 55th floor of the North Tower when the attacks occurred. She frantically searched for her husband, Bob, on the streets below. It was at an American Red Cross emergency station that they found each other later that day. It was through the help of the Red Cross that Maura and Bob were able to call their family, like their daughter Jacey, and let them know they were safe. Their story illustrates one of the many ways the Red Cross was on the ground that day, working to serve those in harm’s way, including our first responders.
In the past ten years, we’ve collected over 8,300 units of blood at this drive. That’s enough to help 24,000 patients. It gives me chills to think of all of the people who have been helped through the generous donors who have come here year after year to donate this precious resource.
This past summer we experienced the lowest supply of blood that we’ve seen in 15 years. So if you’re looking for a way to give back, please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or go to redcross.org for more information on blood donation. And if you can’t donate, please consider volunteering or making a financial contribution. Volunteers and donors are the backbone of our organization, and through their commitment to our mission, we’re saving lives every day.