Red Cross spearheading blood drive in Calexico

March 14, 2002|STAFF REPORT

The American Red Cross Services will be spearheading its second blood drive in the Imperial Valley from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Calexico's Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church rectory parking lot, 124 E. 5th St.

Families of military members sent emergency messages to their enlisted loved ones, millions received lifesaving training, countless numbers received blood and the victims of more than 67,000 disasters received help from the American Red Cross last year, just a few of the humanitarian accomplishments being celebrated during March, American Red Cross Month.

March has been observed as Red Cross Month since 1943, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the proclamation. An important part of the celebration is recognizing the role of supporters in the lifesaving mission of the organization.

"Without a doubt, the legions of dedicated employees and volunteers — the millions who give their time, money and donate blood — are the core of the Red Cross," said Harold Decker, interim president and chief executive officer of the Red Cross. "With the tragic events of the past months and the uncertainties of times ahead, now more than ever we salute these heroes and encourage others to join because it is only together that we can save lives."


The more than 1,000 Red Cross chapters and 36 Blood Services regions will honor supporters and showcase services with special events throughout the month.

The San Diego/Imperial County chapter of the Red Cross will stage "CPR Saturday" on March 23 at the San Diego Sports Arena. "CPR Saturday" will feature a free three-hour CPR class for anyone who wishes to attend. The classes will be taught by American Red Cross-certified instructors who will be volunteering their time for the day.

For more information contact the local office of the American Red Cross or e-mail Reservation deadline is Wednesday.

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors and the city of Calexico will be issuing official proclamations recognizing March as American Red Cross Month.

As part of its congressional charter, the Red Cross is tasked with facilitating communications between military members and their families in emergency situations, delivering news of births, deaths and serious illness to service members stationed around the world. Service members also can turn to the Red Cross to get important news to their loved ones as well.

"With so many servicemen and women now separated from their families because of the war on terrorism, we want to remind everyone that the American Red Cross is here to help keep families connected in times like these," said Sylvia Preciado, director for the Imperial Valley chapter of the Red Cross.

More than 6 million units of blood are donated each year for patients in need through the Red Cross. The Red Cross annually supplies more than 3,000 hospitals with blood. The blood and blood components are used in emergency surgeries, in the treatment of cancer patients and people with blood disorders and many other medical procedures.

"Every two seconds a patient in this country needs blood," said Preciado. "We humbly thank the blood donors across America who so generously donate their blood to help others."

A blood donation may help an Imperial Valley child being treated at Children's Hospital in San Diego, an Imperial Valley military veteran being treated at the Veterans Administration Hospital in La Jolla or a local organ transplant patient at University of California San Diego Medical Center.

While an unprecedented relief effort was launched in response to the tragedies of Sept. 11, victims of other disasters could still count on their local Red Cross chapter to be there when disaster hit.

"Most disasters never make it into the news," pointed out Preciado. "The bulk of Red Cross disaster response to a single family fires, smaller in scale but no less devastating to those affected."

It is a goal of the Red Cross to have at least one person in each of the nation's 75 million households trained in first aid, CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator. In 2001, the organization prepared millions to respond to emergencies.

"Having millions of people trained in vital lifesaving skills make every one of us a little safer, at home and at work," said Preciado.

Operating on a budget of $3 billion, the Red Cross annually mobilizes relief to the victims of more than 67,000 disasters nationwide and has been a primary supplier of blood and blood products in the United States for more than 50 years. In 2000 the Red Cross also trained 12 million people in vital lifesaving skills, provided direct health services to nearly 2.6 million people and delivered more than 21 million locally relevant services.

The organization assisted international disaster and conflict victims in close to 40 locations around the globe, and its emergency communication centers processed 1.2 million calls in support of U.S military families.

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