Meet Vicki Kavitsky, a Biomedical Services team member who works with the American Rare Donor Program in Philadelphia. As part of the national program, Red Cross workers like Vicki search across the country to find donors with rare blood types that are compatible for patients who need those rare blood donations for treatment.
For Vicki, helping other people is something she learned from her family, specifically her mother. Growing up, Vicki’s mom, Donna Kavitsky, worked at the Red Cross as the director of her local region’s Immunohematology Reference Laboratory, which screens blood donations for rare antigens. Witnessing her mother’s work inspired Vicki to make her career a force for good too.
“I became interested in working at the Red Cross because I learned at a very young age about giving back and helping others,” she said.
Vicki also learned about the challenges that some hospital patients face when it comes to finding blood donors who are compatible with them. “I learned that some of these patients have very rare blood types and sometimes it is difficult to locate blood for them,” she said. “That made me really want to help them fight their disease and live a long and healthy life.”
Vicki’s passion for helping others also led her to become a blood donor. “As soon as I became eligible, I rolled up my sleeve and would donate a pint of blood when I could. Even though I am not a rare donor, I’m still helping someone in need of a blood transfusion.”
Following in the footsteps of her mother’s 40-year career with the Red Cross has been a dream for Vicki, who started working at the Red Cross in 2010 in the Donor and Client Support Center. There, she held a few different roles until 2019, when she joined the American Rare Donor Program team.
“This is where I see many of those patients who have rare blood types,” said Vicki, “and I get to search all over the country and outside the U.S. for blood in order for them to get their treatments.”
Working closely on patient cases has made Vicki aware of how critical her work is. “It’s very rewarding to finally find people the blood they desperately need,” she said.
What Vicki loves most about her work is making a difference. Now having worked for the Red Cross for 12 years, she continues to be motivated each day to help the patients in need of specific and rare blood donor matches.
“Knowing that I had a hand in the search and giving those patients a chance to keep fighting every day is what brings a smile to my face and a desire to continue to help those in need,” she added.
This story is part of an American Red Cross Force for Good blog series, featuring dedicated Red Cross employees whose exceptional contributions to our humanitarian mission enable us to help and support people in communities across the country.