“A Bittersweet Birthday”

Birthdays are the one day a year dedicated to us. It’s a day that makes us feel special and important, allowing us to celebrate another year in a lifetime’s worth of memories. Unfortunately for Joe, his day was marked by a tragic memory that changed his life forever.

Monday May 9th, the day before his birthday, Joe had spent the night at a friend’s home bringing in the celebration. He awoke Tuesday morning to numerous birthday texts from loved ones. Suddenly the messages rapidly changed from “Happy Birthday” to “Are you ok?” Joe didn’t understand the messages he was receiving from his neighbors until a fatal call from his landlord came in saying there had been a fire.

Joe arrived to his home, only to find a concrete shell, and everything inside was turned to ash. Joe is an artist and a massage therapist. All of his canvases, supplies, and artwork were gone. His massage table and supplies were gone –  everything was gone.

IMG_0492Joe and MosesCropped

Joe was devastated. It was his birthday, and everything he owned was destroyed. How could he recover from losing everything? His whole life lost in an instant.

A miracle in the midst of tragedy came to him in the form of the Red Cross.  It was the support and comfort Joe needed to pull through this traumatic day. With no place to live and only the clothes on his back, the Red Cross delivered Joe from his nightmare by helping him get back on his feet.

“The Red Cross is absolutely wonderful! They were here to help me out. That is exactly what I needed today. I don’t know what I would do without their support. Because of the Red Cross, I now have a place to stay and I can now get clothes to wear. They gave me a reason to feel hopeful moving forward.”

Like with Joe’s story, there is no way to predict when a crisis will happen. The Red Cross Disaster Team is ready to respond at any hour of the day or night. Join us as we give hope to those who’ve been affected by home fires.

A Harsh Lesson in Water Safety

Verrückt-Water-Slide-5.pngAs the summer months approach, the importance of swimming safety is imperative because it only takes a few quick seconds to realize the dangers that unsafe swimming may present. As a Red Cross volunteer my own near-death summer experience with swimming comes to mind because the scare that I gave my mother is hard to forget. What seemed like an innocent opportunity to beat the heat, almost turned into a day of terror for me and my mom.  It was the month of June and sweltering heat led everybody, including my mom and I to the water park. As an eager and sweaty 12-year-old, it was a mission for me to drag my mom around to find the best and not exactly the safest, way to cool off.  After passing by all of the “kiddy pools”, there it was the tallest water slide in the park with about a 50ft drop into a 10ft deep pool. “No Yei”, my mom said with fear on her face. Despite my mother’s warning, without hesitation, I jumped in line and waited for what I thought was going to be the best ride of my life. By the time I reached the top of the slide the fear began to seep in and the ride attendant must have noticed the uncertainty on my face because he turned to me and said “You’ll be fine” as he snapped on my life vest. I took two steps forward and there I was, looking down at a 50ft long, white, watery slide. I braced myself and took the leap. Screaming all the way down the slide as the water pounded me in the face I started to think that it wasn’t that bad until I was met by 10ft of pool water.  I plunged in so deep it seemed like I was at the bottom of the pool and that’s when I began to panic. It felt like the water was starting to fill my lungs as I flung my arms and legs violently trying to make my way back up to the surface. What was only about 10 seconds seemed like a whole hour before lifeguards finally realized they needed to jump in and save me. Thankfully, I did not endure any injuries and I was able breathe just fine. However the experience was still a frightening one and must have also been one for my mother who had tears in her eyes as she received me from the lifeguards. “Don’t ever do that again”, she said and she didn’t have anything to worry about because I did not intend on challenging my safety ever again! Though I survived the outcome of my risky decision, others might not have been so lucky which is why the American Red Cross is placing enormous importance on water safety for children as well as adults this summer. Memorial Day is upon us so follow us this week as the American Red Cross provides expert advice on how to be safe in the water, prevent drowning, and give tips to parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim.

Give the Gift of Life by Donating Platelets

Platelets are often referred to as “Liquid Gold.” The blood component is shiny yellow, always in demand – and for patients who need them – priceless.

Some donors have made it their mission to help save lives through the American Red Cross by giving platelets. Donors like John Betzen, are committed to doing their part to help patients in need with a dedication that never wavers. Betzen has already reached a major milestone of giving more than 520 blood and platelet donations.

For more than 45 years, Betzen has rolled up a sleeve knowing his donations are helping someone. In August 2011, that someone could have been his granddaughter Sarah. She was born with many complications, including an abnormal opening in her diaphragm. Over several months, Sarah needed surgeries to survive, as well as blood and platelet transfusions.

“Our family is very grateful to those donors who donated their platelets and blood,” said Betzen. “This is not something you can go to the store and purchase. We are certain it helped save Sarah’s life.”

The Precious Gift of Platelets

Platelets are a key clotting component of blood often needed by those who are extremely ill such as cancer patients, burn victims and bone marrow recipients. Unlike whole blood, which can be safely donated every 56 days, platelets can be donated every seven days, up to 24 times a year.

“By donating platelets more people can be helped, because you can donate more frequently,” said Betzen. “It makes me feel good to help fill the need.”

Platelets must be transfused within five days of donation. It’s important that eligible platelet donors give as often as possible to help ensure this potentially lifesaving blood product is available for patients whenever and wherever needed.

Schedule an Appointment to Give

For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate, use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in most states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood or platelets. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

3 Reasons and 4 Ways to #Help1Family on Red Cross Giving Day

Nearly every eight minutes, the American Red Cross extends a helping hand to a family in need that has lost everything – the roof over their heads, their clothes, and their most cherished possessions – to a home fire.

The Western North Carolina Region Red Cross has been busy helping our neighbors, but we need your help on one special day to continue to provide the emergency services that our neighbors depend on each and every day.

On April 21, you have a chance to help families in need whenever and wherever they need it by participating in the Red Cross’ Giving Day to #help1family. A donation of just $88.50 can provide a family with a day’s worth of food, plus blankets and other essentials.

We are proud of the work we accomplished to help people in the Western North Carolina Region last year:

  1. Providing assistance to over 1,100 families in need.
  2. Training more than 24,250 people in Red Cross CPR, First Aid, and AED Training.
  3. Collecting close to 280,000 red blood cells donated by volunteers.

Spread the word about Giving Day – the more people who support Giving day means we can help more families.  Use your social media channels to reach out to friends and family and ask them to donate to #help1family by visiting redcross.org/giving day.

Here are four ways your donation will #help1family:

  1. Supporting a family in urgent need: provide funding to give a family a day’s worth of food, blankets, and other essentials.
  2. Supplying warm meals: help provide hearty, comforting meals to people impacted by disasters.
  3. Providing clean-up kits after a disaster strikes: make clean-up kits available for families in need that include vital items like a mop, bucket, and disinfectant.
  4. Deploying an emergency response vehicle for a day: Red Cross workers travel to impacted neighborhoods in fully stocked Emergency Response vehicles to provide food, water and critical relief.

Imagine the impact that we could have on our community if everyone wanted to #help1family.


The Power To Save A Life Starts With You.


m6140088_763x260-instructor-trainingAt the American Red Cross, training people how to respond to and prepare for emergencies is our core mission. We offer a range of health and safety classes that teach you new skills, keep you knowledgeable, confident and ready to respond in almost any emergency situation.

With courses to cover all key areas of training, available online and in classrooms across the country, Red Cross classes deliver the training you seek, when, where and how you need it. Click on the links below for more details on classes for the month of April 2016:


American Red Cross Cabarrus County Mar-April 2016

Asheville Chapter Training Room Mar-April 2016

Catawba Valley Chapter Mar-April 2016

Elizabeth H. Dole Chapter Mar-April 2016

Gaston County Chapter Mar-April 2016

Greater Carolinas Chapter Mar-April 2016Greater

High Point-Davidson chapter Mar-April 2016

Greensboro Chapter Mar-April 2016

Henderson County Chapter Training Room Mar-April 2016


Union County Chapter Mar-April 2016

Train With the American Red Cross

m49140188_adult-first-aid-cpr-aed-classroom-550x324At the American Red Cross, training people how to respond to and prepare for emergencies is our core mission. We offer a range of health and safety classes that teach you new skills, keep you knowledgeable, confident and ready to respond in almost any emergency situation. With courses to cover all key areas of training, available online and in classrooms across the country, Red Cross classes deliver the training you seek, when, where and how you need it.

For more information on the classes, check out Health and Safety Training Course Schedule below for March 2016:

American Red Cross Cabarrus County Feb-March 2016

Asheville Chapter Training Room Feb-March 2016

Catawba Valley Chapter Feb-March 2016

Elizabeth H. Dole Chapter Feb-March 2016

Gaston County Chapter Feb-March 2016

Greater Carolinas Chapter Feb-March 2016

Greater High Point-Davidson chapter Feb-March 2016

Greensboro Chapter Feb-March 2016

Henderson County Chapter Training Room Feb-March 2016


Union County Chapter Feb-March 2016

Love to drive? Want to help save lives?


Put your skills behind the wheel to good use by joining the American Red Cross volunteer team. Transportation specialists are needed to deliver lifesaving blood to hospitals.
Volunteers must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Valid driver’s license with a minimum of 3 years driving experience
  • Be able to verify a safe driving record with insurance
  • Ability to lift boxes weighing up to 45 pounds for hospital deliveries
  • Ability to volunteer for two to four shifts per month (flexible schedules available)

If you are interested in learning more or applying, contact 704.347.8270 or e-mail at Sandra.Peake@redcross.org. Make a difference today!