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American Red Cross

What does it mean to be prepared?

Hurricane Gustav Support

Because of people like you, the American Red Cross was prepared to help Hurricane Gustav evacuees from the Gulf Coast region. The first night, the Red Cross provided shelter to nearly 45,000 people in 344 locations and will continue to care for people until they can safely return home. To read up-to-date reports of Red Cross hurricane relief go to

The fact that you receive this eNewsletter means you’ve made a commitment to being prepared. Whether you donate blood or platelets for patients in your community and across the country, volunteer your time or money to your local Red Cross Chapter, or take steps at home to ensure your family is prepared for emergencies, you are making a difference in your life and the lives of others.

Hurricane Gustav is a timely reminder of the importance of being prepared. September is National Preparedness Month. Click here for more preparedness resources that can help you, your family and your neighbors Be Red Cross Ready.
September is National Preparedness Month

Back to school

Back to School

It’s “Back to School” time! This means getting school supplies, buying new clothes for school, and for students aged 16 and older – the potential to donate blood.

There are a few things to keep in mind for 16-year-olds interested in donating blood during the new school year:

  • 16-year-olds must bring a signed Red Cross parental/guardian consent form where state permits to the blood drive in order to donate.
  • Make sure to eat a well-balanced breakfast and lunch the day you donate blood, drink 16 oz. of caffeine free fluid (2 cups) 3-4 hours before the donation and after.
  • Get a good night’s sleep the day before your donation appointment.

For other ways to help ensure a good blood donation experience click here. If you are interested in coordinating a blood drive, click here for more information.

16-year-old first-time donor

Deb Freitag
Delaney Spradley and his mother, Lori

When many teenagers look forward to “sweet sixteen,” they anticipate getting their licenses and having big birthday celebrations. However, one 16-year-old from Streator, Ill. was focused on something much different on his 16th birthday - helping others.

In May, Delaney Spradling celebrated his 16th birthday by donating blood for the first time. “My mom told me that she signed me up to donate on my birthday so I decided to go for it,” Spradling said. “It went really well and we celebrated with cake afterward.”

Spradley has donated once since his birthday and plans to be a regular blood donor.

“Donating blood gives you a pretty good feeling,” Spradley said. “It was better than getting my license that day - I was able to help save lives.”

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Pandemic Flu

The American Red Cross is dedicated to helping communities prepare for the possibility of a pandemic flu outbreak. Learn what you can do to be prepared.

Thank you for spreading the word!

Thanks to all the Red Cross donors who forwarded the July eNewsletter to five friends and helped spread the word about the importance of blood donation!

Kirk Wiges of Audubon, Iowa was the July raffle winner of a vintage Red Cross t-shirt.

You could be a winner this month. Everyone who forwards this eNewsletter to at least five friends by 5 p.m. CST on September 5 using the Send to a Friend feature above will automatically be entered into a raffle to win a Red Cross vintage long-sleeve t-shirt!

Vintage Red Cross Long Sleeve Shirt

Take Your Pulse

We want to know what you think about while donating blood or platelets. Click here to Take Your Pulse.

Check Your Pulse

Click here to see the latest eNewsletter survey results.

Email us and let us know what you think about the eNewsletter and the type of information you want to see. We look forward to hearing from you!

Childhood Cancer Awareness

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Children battling cancer often need regular blood and platelet transfusions to survive aggressive chemotherapy. Read why Mary and Jeff Botz, parents of cancer survivor, 6-year-old Carter, have not only become regular blood donors, but also sponsor several blood drives each year through KidsCan, a support group they created, along with other families who’ve been touched by childhood cancer.


©2008 American Red Cross, 2025 E Street NW, Washington DC, 20006.