Monday, July 30, 2012

What's the Point of Giving Blood?

"Isabella was born at 32 weeks, profoundly anemic with a hemoglobin of 2.2. She had stopped moving and I knew something was wrong. I went to the hospital and they quickly agreed with me that something was seriously wrong. She was born that morning, August 23, 2009 by an emergency C section. She was pale...white as a ghost, actually. The doctors were gravely concerned since she had lost almost half of her blood volume due to a hemorrage in utero. However, as soon as they gave her blood....lots of it, and platelets, she stabilized and turned pink!! She is now a happy, healthy 2-year-old and we could never thank the blood donors who saved her life!!!!"
 - Danielle 

"I was severely injured at work in 1978 when I broke my back and was bleeding to took 17 pints of blood to save me.  I'd donated a few times before this event, but it really inspired me to do thank those who were there for me in my time of try to be there for them in theirs...Then, in 1995, I was scheduled for an elective back surgery, and had donated several pints in the autologous program. Following surgery, I had an emergency need for more blood, and lacking the time to get my own from storage, the doctors used another 18 pints...So I owe my life not once, but twice to the generosity and gifts from other donors...that makes me proud to help out, too!"
"Two weeks after my beautiful baby girl was born, I had complications. While I was being treated at the hospital, the doctor came and told my husband in the waiting room that it was a 'grave situation and she might not make it.' My husband was almost left without a wife and my little girl without a mother. The blood that I received that day saved my life. I wish I could personally thank each person who selflessly donated the blood I received. It really does saves lives. It saved mine."

What's the point of giving blood? To save lives.


Read more recipient stories and schedule an appointment today at

Friday, July 27, 2012

2012 Leadership Development Camp

This year was our third year doing a Leadership Development Camp here in the Utah Region and it was a total success! It was our first year using Camp Pinecliff , located 18 miles east of Coalville, and the location could not have been better! It provided a lovely outdoorsy and intimate setting for our 80 delegates to grow in.

The week began with our keynote speaker, Shawn Moon from Franklin Covey, who inspired the delegates greatly. Throughout the week we held general sessions and several breakout groups where delegates learned about leadership, personal values, diversity awareness and making a difference in the lives of others.  One of our biggest events was a panel of three executives who shared their experiences of success with the delegates. The panelists this year included: Jeremy Jones, a professional snowboarder; Reyes Aguilar of the College of Law at the University of Utah; and Phyllis Hockett, Cofounder of Pathway Associates.

 Other activities included: dancing, sports, teambuilding games and service projects that benefited the not for profit Pinecliff Camp. This truly powerful camp, developed and directed by Skip Morgan, impacted all the youth who attended. Here is what some of them had to say:
·         “My attitude towards myself has changed positively and that was a good thing. My behavior towards others has changed because I realize how judgmental and immature some of my thinking and acting was. My perception of others is now more equal and I feel I love everyone as a person.”
·         “My whole perspective on life has changed, I can do anything…”
·          “Over the past week my life has changed…”
·         “The way I see a leader being was something different than from what a leader truly is…”
·         “I learned what true leadership is…”
·         “I have learned to embrace diversity as a whole because it is not a bad thing…”
·         “This week I learned more about myself than I thought possible…”
·         “I’ve gained a brighter outlook on life in the past week…”
·         “I see myself as a much more optimistic person…”
·         “My attitude about life is much more positive. I know I can make a difference in this world.”
·         “I will never go back to who I used to be, I love the new me.”
·         “I really opened up to the profound effect I can have as a supporting leader as opposed to a directing leader.”
·         “EVERYTHING!!! Everything has changed since I’ve come to camp.”
·         “I have realized what a difference I can make in the lives of others if I am willing to put myself out there and be heard.”
·         “This has been the best week of my life! The best decision I have ever made…”
·         “LDC CHANGED MY LIFE!”
If you are interested in being a male volunteer staff person for next year or know of a youth in 9th, 10th or 11th grade interested in attending the 2013 camp next June, please see the youth page of our website and put your names on the waiting list ASAP. If you have questions, please contact

Monday, July 23, 2012

Spontaneous Volunteers Eager to Help During Wildfire Responses

On June 22, the first of a storm of wildfires swept over the state, beginning a month of disasters that lead to the evacuation of thousands and the opening of several Red Cross shelters.  Red Cross volunteers responded with compassion for the victims and eagerness to help – but they weren’t the only ones showing willingness to give assistance.

During each disaster, Red Cross volunteers were accompanied by groups of spontaneous community volunteers aspiring to help evacuees. Handfuls of Utah helpers were seen comforting evacuees, setting up shelter supplies, and assisting Red Cross staff. Since the fires began, 223 community members have applied to be trained Red Cross volunteers; 43 of which identified themselves as being “spontaneous volunteers” during this summer’s fire seasons. These volunteers have committed to directly help with wildfire responses and show support for victims.

Volunteer Coordinator for the American Red Cross Utah Region Kristy Denlein said many volunteers who have attended New Volunteer Orientation in recent weeks are very interested in disaster services and being trained to respond to local disasters.

“Some of them are retired, some are nurses, and others were students, but all of them are just looking to give their time and give back to the community,” Denlein said.

For information on becoming a volunteer, visit and click on the “volunteer” link.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Emotional Health Hurts Too

Thousands of Utah neighbors were forced to leave their homes during this summer’s wildfire season, with some properties being permanently damaged. Being forced to vacate in fear that they may never see their home again, Red Cross shelters across the state housed many frightened evacuees during their anxious waits. Although most structures have been saved and people have been able to return to their homes, undergoing a situation like this can be devastating and traumatic; causing emotional health issues that can last long after the tragedy is over.

Disasters like these can bring about unknown feelings leaving victims unaware of how to take care of their emotional health and how to get their lives back in a routine. When people experience a disaster or other stressful life event, they may react with:

·         Feeling physically and mentally drained

·         Having difficulty making decisions or staying focused on topics

·         Becoming easily frustrated on a frequent basis

·         Frustration occurring more quickly and more often

·         Arguing more with family and friends

·         Feeling sad, tired, numb, lonely, or worried

·         Changes in appetite or sleep

 In most cases, people will typically feel better after a few days. Others find that their stress does not go away as quickly and it is compromising their relationships, careers, and happiness. For those who fall into the latter, it will take time to get your life back in order but it is important to remember the essentials:

·         Take care of your safety

·         Eat healthy

·         Get some rest

·         Stay connected with family and friends

·         Be patient with yourself and with those around you

·         Set priorities

·         Gather information

·         Stay positive

 If your situation worsens, you may need to reach out for additional assistance. For more resources, contact your local Red Cross Disaster Mental Health or contact the Disaster Distress Helpline by texting ‘Wildfire’ to 66746.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Fiery Flashback for the American Red Cross

Officials, researchers and organizations have labeled house and wildfires the biggest disaster threat across the nation, affecting thousands of innocent people every year. The American Red Cross has become one of the key organizations in responding to these emergencies, with 93 percent of their responses being fire related. From its establishment in 1881, the American Red Cross not only helps victims of fire emergencies but has also evolved to educate society and prevent these disasters. The incident that started the campaign for fire relief began in Michigan in September of 1881.

Disaster struck the Lower Peninsula of Michigan when high winds combined with dry lands and small fires to form a wildfire that burned more than a million acres in only 24 hours. The fire devastated the area causing $2.5 million in damages, killing nearly 300 people and leaving thousands of survivors homeless.

Eager to help and prove that the Red Cross could contribute more than wartime relief, Clara Barton formed an auxiliary in Dansville, New York that began collecting food, clothing, household items and monetary donations to ship to Michigan. The Red Cross contribution totaled approximately $80,000 in cash and supplies.

The relief effort of the Michigan Forest Fire of 1881 helped to convince President Chester Arthur and the U.S. Senate to officially recognize the American Red Cross by signing the Treaty of Geneva on March 16, 1882.  The initial purpose of the American Red Cross was to aid wounded and sick soldiers on the battlefield. However, Barton had a hunger to do more -- she wanted to extend the Red Cross services beyond wartime and offer assistance to peacetime emergencies, as well. Based on what has become of the American Red Cross, it is apparent that she accomplished her goal.

Over 130 years later, wildfires remain a significant piece of the American Red Cross response, with volunteers responding to approximately 170 home fires every day.  The 2012 summer alone has required the major relief efforts of Red Cross chapters in western states who have suffered from extreme wildfires. The organization has progressed to offer shelter, food and clothing through opening Red Cross shelters while also delivering information and communication to fire victims through their Safe and Well program that connects victims to loved ones. National and local chapters routinely provide tips and preparedness facts on how to plan before, during, after, and through recovery for fire emergencies.

“During a fire, every second counts and being prepared can greatly reduce the effects of these devastating disasters,” Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Red Cross Disaster Services, said on the importance of being prepared.

The key things the Red Cross suggests are to:

·         Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test them every month and replace the batteries at least once a year (65 percent of home fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms).

·         Plan an escape route and practice at least 2x a year

·         If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL for help.

For over a century, Red Cross workers and volunteers have succeeded in helping those affected by fire. With the occurrence of fires increasing each year, the American Red Cross continues to develop and improve its services as it has done since the beginning.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Inside the Mind of a Volunteer

Inside the mind of a Red Cross Volunteer

By: Stephanie Petersen

For four and a half years Chris Briggs has been volunteering with the Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter of the Utah Red Cross and describes his experience as full of generosity and comfort.

Although he claims being a volunteer for just short of five years, his journey with the American Red Cross began long before that. He grew up the son of a Red Cross First Aider responding to traffic emergencies and his interest led him to become involved as a youth volunteer during his senior year of high school. He said the experiences he had as a youth volunteer gave him a sense of unity among peers and explained how that feeling has grown with his years of service.

“People assume we are the ones who are giving so much, but really, the volunteers are receiving the best service of all,” Briggs said. “Being a volunteer allows me to meet new people, see generosity in the community and share experiences that connect me to people.”

Although specialized as an Emergency Response Vehicle driver, Briggs was present at five of the seven Red Cross shelters opened for evacuees of this summer’s fire season. 

“People really do find a sense of comfort, shelter and security when they see Red Cross insignia,” Briggs said.

According to the Red Cross veteran, volunteering is not always action-packed like some people believe. He explained how sometimes it comes down to the simplest of tasks like cleaning and serving food.

“No matter what your job is, you need to embrace it and love it,” he said. Briggs said he believes as long as volunteers feel welcomed and appreciated, they will be committed to the Red Cross mission of helping others.

As a shelter manager at the Timberline Middle School shelter opened for evacuees from July’s Quail Fire, Briggs said he was impressed by the generosity found through community partnerships. He explained that from large organizations to individuals, the public was more than willing to do their part during the disaster.  Large companies like Wal-Mart and Little Caesar’s Pizza were eager to provide food and water, while the staff at Timberline Middle School entertained evacuees with their production of “Annie.”

Briggs said he feels lucky to live in a place where the community is so willing to reach out during tragedies. He welcomes anyone who might be interested in volunteering with the Red Cross. For volunteer opportunities, visit

Monday, July 2, 2012

Utah Wildfires: How to Help

Utah wildfires: how to help

As wildfires rage across Utah, fueled by very dry weather conditions, we anticipate a busy fire season. In just seven days alone (June 22-29) we provided services to more than 1,000 Utahns forced from their homes at a moment's notice. Our services included operating four emergency shelters, and serving more than 2,400 meals and snacks.

When disaster strikes, evacuees and survivors need help immediately. Help us be there in record time, with all the resources we need to relieve their suffering!

  • Give money - donate: When you donate, you help to provide all the resources we need to assist those in need quickly and effectively.
  • Give time - Click here to volunteer:  When you volunteer, you help us reach out to those in need to provide the things that no amount of money can buy. Whatever your skill set, we need you!

Working together, we can make Utah the best-prepared state in the nation.