“I vant your blood” is a favorite saying for Southern California resident Mary Melton, not only around Halloween, but year-round.
It’s never a joking matter for her, and it is an even more urgent need right now because she lives in the seven-county region affected by the California Wildfires and hurricane-force Santa Ana winds.
The Red Cross is always in dire need of that precious liquid of life, our blood, but it is an even bigger need when there is a federal emergency like these fires and winds and during the fast-coming holiday season.
That’s where Mary and her Respect Life Ministry come in. That’s also where every single one of you reading this article worldwide can help in more ways than one.
Especially if you are not from Southern California, your blood, your time, your money is needed right now, so please tell a friend about this urgent need and this article because Sherry Nikirk, senior account manager American Red Cross Donor Resources Development, says, “We import 40-60 percent of our blood supply.”
To some people, to respect life simply means to be against abortion, but it’s much more than that to Mary. It means to love life from conception to a natural death, and for her, that includes helping the Red Cross through blood drives.
With a single blood donation, the Red Cross can help save not just one life, but three.
That means everything to Mary. “I’m extremely committed to pro-life issues, and this falls into that category. Saving people’s lives is a pro-life issue,” Mary says.
She is so enthusiastic about her volunteer work for the Red Cross through the Los Angeles Archdiocese’s Respect Life Ministry, which she heads at her local parish, that she raised enough blood donations to save nearly a thousand lives this year.
Though Mary does not dedicate so much of her time to promote herself or to get any recognition, the Red Cross awarded her second place in the religious category for raising 304 units of blood for the Southern California Region, which comprises seven counties and 381 participating religious groups sponsoring blood drives.
These are the same seven counties which are so affected by the California Wildfires and hurricane-force Santa Ana winds.
On a good day, without a quarter of a million people busy evacuating their homes and finding Red Cross shelters, hotels or unaffected friends and family willing to offer hospitality, only about one-third of the population can donate blood.
“It is now estimated that, due to our aging population and increasing numbers of people who are not eligible to donate blood, only 37 percent of our population is currently eligible to donate,” says Charles Wilcox, Chief Executive Officer of Southern California Blood Services Region. “This is a significant decline from estimates from years past that listed 60 percent eligible. The fact that only about a third of our population can donate blood makes it even more critical that those who can donate do donate,” he says.
Those who can’t donate blood can still volunteer their time, just as Mary devotes so many hours, or they can donate money. Better yet, you can do all three.
According to Sherry, the Southern California Region needs to collect more than 1,500 units of blood each day to meet patient needs. That’s regardless of whether there’s a federal emergency preventing Southern Californians from donating. The need for blood, volunteers and money exists in your community, your state and your country too.
So please, help Southern California victims and help your own community regardless of where you live on our planet, because a fellow human being, maybe even a young and innocent child, needs blood.
As the Red Cross says, “Together we can save a life!”
Here are some contacts both locally and worldwide.
To schedule a blood drive in the United States: 1-800-491-2113
To donate individually in the United States: 1-800-Give Life (1-800-448-3543); (Espanol 1-866-Por Vida; 1-866-767-8432)
To volunteer in the United States: 1-800-498-9910
Worldwide, you can find your local Red Cross contact information at this Web site address: http://www.ifrc.org/address/directory.asp
It will take you to a list of just about every country in the world where there is an International Red Cross or Red Crescent organization. Click on your country to access your local contact information.
If you have a blog or a Web site, I give you full permission to link to this article in the hopes of saving more lives. Let me know about it so I can link to your article too.
From left, Charles Wilcox, Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross Blood Services, Southern California Region; Mary Melton, second place winner in the religious category for 2006-2007 with 304 units of blood raised; Glen Pierce, Chairman of the Board, American Red Cross Blood Services, Southern California Region.