As a regular blood donor for nearly 20 years and a previous employee of American Red Cross Blood Services, I understand the amount of time and energy that go into organizing a blood drive. Volunteer blood drive coordinators – from high school administrators, to student organization presidents, to church activities directors – spend hours on logistics, publicity and recruitment in the days and weeks leading up to a blood drive. And they work incredibly hard to make sure everything runs smoothly on collection day. It’s a big job, but as the saying goes, somebody’s gotta do it.
I considered organizing a blood drive once, after a good friend and co-worker of mine suffered a Guillain-Barre Syndrome relapse. However as badly I wanted to host a blood drive in her honor, between family and work I simply couldn’t spare the time needed to guarantee a successful drive.
But now a new American Red Cross program can help anyone host a blood drive – even those without a connection to a location or organization, and/or those without the time once needed to make it all happen. It’s called SleevesUp.
The new SleevesUp campaign walks coordinators (and I use that term loosely, as very little coordinating is actually required) through creating a virtual blood drive in honor of a birthday or anniversary, or in memory of a loved one. Coordinators can then invite family members and friends across the country to join them in donating blood and helping save lives. Through the online campaign, coordinators can set collection goals, choose a hashtag and upload pictures and stories about why blood donation is important to them. The process is simple and easy, yet personal and effective.
This winter has thus far been a rough one. Inclement weather and wide-spread illness have simultaneously affected blood collections and resulted in a higher-than-usual number of appointment cancellations. What better way to recognize January as National Blood Donor Month than by helping save lives and honoring your special someone with a virtual blood drive?
Let’s go, friends – sleeves up!