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American Red Cross

Give the Perfect Gift

Perfect Gift Video

You can wrap a sweater. You can place a bow on a shiny new bicycle. You can fill a gift bag with holiday cookies. One thing you can't put in a box and place under the tree is the perfect gift – a lifesaving blood or platelet donation.

Think outside the box this holiday season. The perfect gift can be given at your nearest American Red Cross blood drive or blood donation center. And, unlike the latest fashion trend, video game or golf club, the perfect gift costs nothing but about an hour of your time.

You can also help spread the word about giving the perfect gift by sharing "The Perfect Gift" video with family and friends. The Red Cross hopes that it helps inspire many to give blood or platelets this holiday season and throughout the year!

Searching for the #perfectgift? Schedule a blood donation today at redcrossblood.org.

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Wounded warrior salutes Red Cross for services

Lance Corporal Neal Claar, blood recipient
Lance Corporal Neal Claar, blood recipient

Twenty-two-year-old Neal Claar, a lance corporal with the United States Marine Corps, was struck by a roadsidebomb in Afghanistan in September 2010. The impact left him seriously injured. He had severed an artery, which caused massive bleeding. It shattered his femur and broke a finger, ruptured his eardrum and riddled his body with shrapnel wounds. Neal also suffered from a traumatic brain injury and lost an eye and a finger. Blood transfusions were crucial to Neal's survival.

Though Neal had given blood with the American Red Cross prior to his injury, he and his family weren't familiar with the breadth of services the organization offers to members of the military. The Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces (SAF) offers resources for deployed service members and their families, providing emergency communications and supporting hospital outreach and programs for veterans.

On Veteran's Day, November 11, you can honor active military personnel and veterans by making an appointment to give blood or platelets or by making a contribution to support Red Cross SAF activities.

Thanks to generous financial donors, blood donors and volunteers, the Red Cross was there for Neal, providing him lifesaving blood products during surgery and a warm blanket for his mother as she rested at his hospital bedside.

I'm honoring veterans by making a blood donation in honor of those who serve. Will you?  

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Stay healthy this season

Wash Hands

More than 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu each year, significantly affecting the blood supply because there are fewer healthy eligible blood donors.

There is a lot you can do to lessen your risk of getting sick. The first line of defense is to take the time to get vaccinated. Next, remember that germs can linger on surfaces for up to three days, so wash your hands often with soap and water or use sanitizing gel containing 60 percent or more alcohol to remove germs.

Use creative barriers to help keep germs away. Press the elevator button with a knuckle or elbow and observe the five-foot rule by maintaining a five foot distance between you and a coughing or sneezing co-worker.

Be Red Cross ready, and stay healthy during the cold and flu season this year so you can help maintain a sufficient blood supply for those in need!

Stay healthy this cold and flu season. Download the flu checklist.

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Iron Rich Foods

Boost your iron for a better donation experience

The Red Cross checks your hemoglobin level before every blood donation to ensure it is safe for you to give blood. Hemoglobin levels can be maintained through proper diet of iron-rich foods and avoiding substances that reduce iron absorption.

Iron-rich foods:

  • beans
  • spinach
  • beef
  • shrimp
  • tomatoes
  • oysters
  • broccoli
  • rice
  • peas
  • potatoes
  • watermelon

Iron busters:

  • caffeinated beverages
  • chocolate
  • excess of high-fiber foods
  • some medications like antacids or phosphate salts
  • high calcium foods

Scarf

Thank you for spreading the word!

Thanks to all of the American Red Cross donors who forwarded the September eNewsletter to at least five friends and helped spread the word about the constant need for blood and platelets.

Tim Nelson from Watertown, Wis., is the September eNewsletter raffle winner of a Red Cross Basic Emergency Preparedness Kit.

You could be a winner this month. Forward this eNewsletter to at least five people using the "Send to a Friend" feature above and automatically be entered to win a Red Cross red and white extra long scarf to help stay warm during the winter months!

Sounding Off:

We wish we could list all the great feedback we get from donors, but there's only so much room. Here's one testimonial from Bart, who shares his story about persistence in becoming a blood donor.

"I am a Red Cross blood donor that won't give up. I attempted to give blood when I turned 16 years old, but I was permanently deferred because of chemotherapy treatments I received when I was 18 months old. Six years later, I was informed that chemotherapy treatments only have a 20-year deferral period and that I would be eligible to donate. I signed up for the next blood drive being held at my workplace, which was right after a planned vacation. Again, I was deferred for 12 months because I had travelled to Honduras. A year later, I was eligible to donate for the first time and have continued to donate ever since. My wife and I are now planning our honeymoon, and I'm avoiding any regions that would defer me ever again!"


 

©2011 The American National Red Cross, 2025 E Street NW, Washington DC, 20006.