Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Quilt a Symbol of Red Cross History- and Impact

Volunteer Eileen Hadbavny has served the Red Cross since she first donated blood in the 1960s. That initial experience sparked a lifelong connection to the Red Cross, spanning more than fifty years and half a dozen volunteer roles.  Eileen supported the Red Cross first as a blood donor, then as a blood services coordinator in Virginia. She now serves the Palmetto SC Region of the Red Cross as the Regional Nurse Leader, a Health Services volunteer, the coordinator and lead caseworker of Services to the Armed Forces, and the instructor and lead caseworker for International Services.

Her medical knowledge and passion for giving back to others has made her an incredible asset to the Red Cross, then and now. Recently, Eileen’s years of support and leadership became tangible through a surprising medium  – a quilt, cleverly and creatively stitched by Eileen's sister. 

The quilt weaves together American Red Cross blood drive promotional T-shirts that Eileen had earned and kept over the years. One particularly close to Eileen’s heart is a celebration of the Red Cross Blood Services' 50th anniversary, featuring a design dating to 1948. Eileen notes the historical significance of the shirt, which she received in 1998, tacking on a quote from the Red Cross website that notes the Red Cross' role in World War II: 

"Saving Lives for 50 Years, American Red Cross Blood Services"
"The Second World War called upon the Red Cross to provide extensive services once again to the U.S. military, Allies, and civilian war victims. We enrolled more than 104,000 nurses for military service, prepared 27 million packages for American and Allied prisoners of war, and shipped over 300,000 tons of supplies overseas. At the military’s request, the Red Cross also initiated a national blood program that collected 13.3 million pints of blood for use by the armed forces."

Her history as a frequent blood donor is additional evidence of Eileen's commitment to the Red Cross over the years. Wherever Eileen lived, her pattern of involvement with the Red Cross repeated. With her O Negative blood type, Eileen is a universal donor. She recalls her initial motivation to donate during nursing school. "I saw the need for blood while helping to administer blood to patients following surgery or accidents," she said.

She also knows the intense need for blood during times of personal health emergencies. "At one blood drive, when it was my turn to donate, the nurses saw my donor card and asked for a special blood bag. They said there were babies at MUSC needing my type of blood, so they were going to put a rush on testing the blood," she recalled. 
"That impressed me," she continued, "that the need was real and the need was now. If I had not been donating that day, what would have happened to that infant? Also, while living in Miami, I would go in to donate, and the staff would check the heart surgery schedule and reschedule my donation before specific surgeries because of the need for my blood type for specific patients."

Each shirt has a story. The majority of the T-shirts are from Virginia during the 1990's and early 2000's.  One came from a national convention Eileen attended in 1999 in Richmond, Virginia. That year, the Red Cross celebrated and promoted youth involvement. With the phrase, "Own the Future," the organization emphasized that "Youth is about 40% of the population but 100% of the Future!"

"Own the Future"

Another shirt is embroidered with “Red Cross for All People." Eileen purchased it after becoming involved with International Services and learning that the Red Cross is the largest humanitarian network in the world. She now serves as the Instructor for International Services here, upholding humanitarian law and human rights in conflict zones. 

Red Cross for All People
The quilt has local influences as well. Lowcountry SC Major Gifts Officer Dick Miller left the “I Give Blood to Honor Those Who Serve” shirt in Eileen’s office one day to honor her previous work as an Air Force nurse and ongoing support to military personnel through the Red Cross’ Services to the Armed Forces program. 
Eileen regularly donated blood for more than 30 years until she was no longer eligible. Yet, her dedication to the organization and its mission didn't unravel. She now assists in the organization of the VFW Blood Drives on James Island. The next one is on Saturday, July 25, at 1639 Camp Road from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and her quilt will be on display. Her motto is "If you cannot donate, then you need to recruit. A donor can give up to six times a year, but a recruiter can get many more units exponentially."
Eileen encourages others to consider giving blood. "If they are eligible to donate, it can be the greatest gift to give to a perfect stranger," she began. "And should you or a family member ever need blood, the hope is that there was another stranger who selflessly provided that gift of life so the blood product is readily available, when and where you need it."

For information on upcoming blood donations, visit

Monday, July 13, 2015

CPM Federal Credit Union Makes Generous Donation to the Red Cross

We would like to sincerely thank the CPM Federal Credit Union for their donation to the Red Cross. CPM is a regular supporter of the Red Cross, annually giving funds that support emergency preparations and responses in the Lowcountry. 

Lowcountry Major Gift Officer, Dick Miller, with CPM Credit Union Leaders

The Red Cross depends on the generosity of donors and the commitment of volunteers to serve the community in many ways, including blood services, services to the armed forces, disaster response, and health education courses.

For information on donating to the Red Cross. For information on becoming a volunteer.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Have a Safe Fourth of July with These Red Cross Tips

 The long Fourth of July holiday weekend is just ahead, and the American Red Cross has steps you can follow to stay safe while enjoying fireworks or taking a trip to the lake or pool.
“This weekend is an important time of celebration and remembrance across our nation,” said Louise Welch Williams, Regional Chief Executive Officer for the Palmetto SC Region of the American Red Cross. “While people are enjoying the fun with their communities and their families, they should also follow safety tips regarding fireworks and outings to prevent any injuries or avoidable dangers during the exciting holiday weekend.”
FIREWORKS SAFETY: The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Many states outlaw most fireworks. If you are setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:
  • Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.
GRILLING SAFETY: Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. Here are several steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:
  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
SWIM SAFETY: Swimming at the pool or beach is often a great recreational activity enjoyed during the Fourth of July. But it’s important to know how to be safe while you’re in the water. The American Red Cross offers these important swimming safety tips you should be aware of before you head out to the pool or lake:
  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Maintain constant supervision.
  • Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.
  • Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

SUN PROTECTION Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply your sunscreen often. Remember to drink plenty of water regularly, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight. And don’t forget your feet! The sand can burn your feet and glass and other sharp objects in the sand can cut them.
During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke:
  • Call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place.
  • Quickly cool the body by applying cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin (or misting it with water) and fanning the person.
  • Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.
LEARN MORE WITH OUR EMERGENCY MOBILE APPS: The American Red Cross First Aid App puts that information at your fingertips, helping you prepare and respond to heat emergencies and other events. The free First Aid App gives you instant access to the information you need to know to handle the most common first aid emergencies. The Red Cross Pet First Aid App has steps pet owners should take to help keep their furry friends safe during hot weather. People can find the apps in their app store by searching for American Red Cross and at
People can learn how to prevent and respond to heat-related and other emergencies by taking a Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED or Advance Child Care Training course. A variety of online and in-class options are available. Course and registration information is available at