Group to host make-up blood drive

The American Red Cross empowers ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

March is Red Cross Month, a great time to celebrate and recognize everyday heroes in the community – those who help their neighbors by giving blood, learning lifesaving skills, volunteering or making a financial contribution to the Red Cross.

Red Cross Month is observed in dedication of people like the students, faculty and staff of Russellville High School, who support the mission of the Red Cross.

Russellville High School is a Red Cross blood drive sponsor, and the RHS team showed its dedication to the Red Cross mission during January’s historic severe winter weather in Alabama.

Russellville High School has long hosted one of the Red Cross’ strongest high school blood drives in Alabama, ranking nationally for single day collections for the last two years.

In 2012, the Russellville High School blood drive had record-setting success, becoming the largest single-day American Red Cross high school blood drive in Alabama by collecting 304 units. That mark not only made the Russellville High School drive the biggest single day high school drive in the region, but the drive also ranked as the 5th largest single day high school blood drive in the Southeast, and the #17 largest single day high school blood drive in the American Red Cross system.

In 2013, the drive grew once again, collecting 356 units to register as the largest single-day American Red Cross blood drive in Alabama.

This year, faculty sponsors Rachelle Carroll and Deedra Moore, alongside the school’s National Honor Society chapter, had planned the school’s biggest blood drive undertaking to date: “The Russellville 500” blood drive.

The idea was to draw high school, faculty and community donors to what would have been the largest single day blood drive in Alabama, and improve upon the school’s national ranking among single-day high school blood drives.

However, the unprecedented January ice storm intervened and glazed the majority of the state with ice and snow from north to south, cancelling every blood collection opportunity within the region on January 29.

However, because the northwestern corner of the state was minimally affected by the storm, the Russellville High School team, well aware of the continuing need for blood, committed to keeping its drive on the books.

The winter weather still impacted the blood drive, however, causing a change in plans within 24 hours of the drive’s planned start time. Because travel had limited available Red Cross collections staff for the drive, the goal was reduced, and the hours and locations of the blood drive were altered.

Though the drive didn’t reach the 500 mark, 140 units of potentially life-saving blood were collected for patients in need.

The RHS team remains committed to the Red Cross mission. They will be holding a “make-up” drive on Thursday, March 27 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Russellville (213 North Jackson Avenue, Russellville, AL 35653) to help the Red Cross further recoup some of those units that went uncollected during the storm. Though the drive will be held in the church Fellowship Hall rather than at the high school, members of the RHS National Honor Society will be recruiting donors for the drive as well as serving as volunteers.

Teresa Becker-Bush, donor recruitment representative for the Russellville area, said she has been consistently amazed by the dedication the team at RHS has shown, and the latest example was simply incredible.

“RHS and The National Honor Society have always gone above and beyond the call of duty in supporting the blood drives, under the adult leadership of Rachelle Carroll and Deedra Moore,” Bush said. “They are a wonderful group to work with, and the way they handled our late-breaking change in plans while attempting to fulfill their commitment to hospital patients in need of blood was very moving.”

The Russellville High School team proves that it doesn’t take a cape, super powers or a secret identity to be a hero. Everyday heroes enable the Red Cross to respond to disasters, both large and small, here and around the world; help members of the military; provide about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and teach lifesaving skills.

The Red Cross invites community members to discover their inner hero this month. To make an appointment to donate blood or for more information about other ways to get involved with the Red Cross, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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