Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Families of Highway Fatalities host statewide blood drive in memory of collision victims

In South Carolina, about 800 lives are claimed each year by traffic collisions. Families of Highway Fatalities and the American Red Cross are asking South Carolinians to remember those individuals lost on South Carolina highways by giving the gift of life this holiday season, at a time when blood donations are especially important.

Donors can give blood from Monday, Dec. 28 to Thursday, Dec. 31 at five Red Cross donation centers in Charleston (Mount Pleasant and West Ashley), Columbia, Florence and Myrtle Beach. As a thank you for their donation, presenting donors will receive a long-sleeve Red Cross commemorative T-shirt, while supplies last.

“Families of Highway Fatalities, an organization dedicated to providing resources for families who have lost loved ones in traffic collisions, has partnered with the Red Cross on blood drives for several years,” said Phil Riley, Director of  the SCDPS Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs. “The blood drives offer members an opportunity to remember their loved ones, while also raising awareness of the need for blood donations.”

The period between Christmas and New Year’s Day is an especially critical time for the Red Cross, as holiday festivities and travel can keep donors from giving blood. But the need for blood is constant. Trauma patients, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all need blood. There is no substitute for blood, and volunteer donors are the only source.

Traci Wolfe of Chapin will honor her son, Kenny, through the blood drive. Kenny died in 2007 at age 18 in a motor vehicle collision. Kenny, who loved fishing and sports of every kind, had a huge heart for others, his mother said. The family keeps his memory alive through the Kenny Wolfe Foundation, which raises awareness about teen fatalities in collisions, and by encouraging others to give blood in his name.

“By giving blood in Kenny’s memory, it’s almost like Kenny is still here and still sharing,” Traci said.

Donors can make appointments to give blood and platelets at five locations:

2751 Bull St., Columbia

1555 W. Palmetto St., Florence

920 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Mount Pleasant

3681 Renee Drive, Unit #4, Myrtle Beach

2000 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., Charleston

To make an appointment and for more information, download the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To learn more about the Families of Highway Fatalities, visit http://www.scdps.gov/fhf.

Items and offers are nontransferable and are not redeemable for cash.

How to donate blood
To make an appointment, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can use RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or laptop. Visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass to get started.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Red Cross Provides Critical Assistance Across Multiple States After Tornadoes, Flooding Force Thousands from Homes

The American Red Cross launched a massive relief response across multiple states in the wake of the deadly storms which have been hammering communities across most of the country since before the Christmas holiday.

Several days of tornadoes, flooding and winter storms left behind damaged homes, downed power lines and closed highways. Red Cross and community shelters are open in Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The Red Cross is also supporting families in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi due to severe weather and flooding. 

More than 1,100 homes have been damaged by storms across the affected areas and the number could increase. Hundreds of trained Red Cross disaster workers left their loved ones and homes over the holiday and opened shelters for those affected, providing meals, distributing comfort kits and clean-up supplies and meeting with those affected to help them plan their next steps.

DANGER NOT OVER The storm is expected to continue to affect people over the next several days with flash flooding, heavy snow, ice and freezing rain. The Red Cross urges people in the path of these storms to get ready now. Information about what people should do to prepare their household for possible flooding, tornadoes, winter storms and other weather emergencies is available at redcross.org.

PLEASE HELP NOW The Red Cross will be helping people affected by this storm for weeks and months to come, while at the same time responding to other emergencies, including helping people whose homes are destroyed by fires. The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year in the United States – the vast majority of which are home fires.

People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief to support disasters big and small by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Santa Spreads Cheer with a Little Help from Red Cross Elves

‘Tis the season for giving! 

Our region’s smallest chapter of the American Red Cross, the Northern South Carolina chapter, truly embraced the Christmas spirit this year by deciding to adopt four families for the holidays as a chapter – one for each county they serve.
Headquartered in Rock Hill, SC, the Northern SC chapter covers York, Lancaster, Chester, and Chesterfield Counties.

Volunteers, staff, and board members came together for their first annual Adopt-a-Family program. Working with Pilgrim’s Inn, a local homeless shelter and daycare center, Red Crossers bought gifts for needy families with members ranging from 4-28 years old. Pilgrim’s Inn will anonymously deliver the gifts to the families on Christmas morning. Our dedicated volunteers ran this venture from start to finish – from raising the money, to shopping for the gifts, to then delivering them to Pilgrim’s Inn. 

The Red Cross also wanted to bring good tidings and some tasty treats to the children being helped by Pilgrim’s Inn. One of the chapter’s seasoned disaster volunteers, Ray Gannon, regularly helps Santa be in more than one place at the same time, entertaining children during the holiday season wearing a signature red suit. 
With his trusty elves, Santa “flew”  one of the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) to the facility during the children’s lunch hour to spread cheer. Sauntering with a jolly pep in his step down the colorful hallway, ol’ Saint Nick shook his jingle bells, letting out a commanding “Ho! Ho! Ho!” 

Escorted by Pilgrim’s Inn staff, Santa made his way through each classroom one by one, bringing with him pure merriment. The children jumped with joy as Claus distributed the sugary confections from his red bag. The children had plenty of hugs for their jolly visitor.

The chapter also donated 20 cases of bottled water to augment the Pilgrim's Inn food pantry.

Happy Holidays from your local Red Cross.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Give a Meaningful Gift for the Holidays—Give Blood

The air outside is crisp and the holidays are around the corner. When you’re not rushing through your holiday to-do list or bouncing from one holiday party to the next, it’s a breath of fresh air to sit and enjoy the season. It’s a time to stay in and bake cookies, sip hot cocoa, curl up by the fire and spend time with loved ones. But for some, this time will be spent in the hospital waiting on blood products to help them get well.

Each day, the American Red Cross needs 14,000 blood donations to meet the needs of patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. During the holiday season, donations often decline because donors are busier with holiday activities and travelling to see loved ones. The decline could have a serious impact for hospital patients depending on generous blood and platelet donations.

While making special holiday memories with friends and family this season, consider giving a meaningful gift to someone in need. By donating blood or platelets with the Red Cross, you could give a hospital patient in need the chance to make their own memories. 

Donors can give blood at blood drives occurring almost every day across South Carolina. On Friday, Dec. 18, join the Red Cross Board of Directors for its first-ever holiday blood drive in Columbia. The drive is 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln St. All presenting donors will receive a free Red Cross long-sleeve T-shirt, while supplies last.

This season, create memories and start new traditions. Make donating blood or platelets part of your holiday to-do list. To find a donation opportunity near you, download the Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS. You can also help support the Red Cross by asking others to donate or creating a SleevesUp virtual blood drive.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Families Learn Home Fire Safety in Clio

On November 28, more than 30 members of the Clio Fire Department and the American Red Cross teamed together for a one-day home fire preparedness outreach blitz across the Town of Clio, South Carolina. More than 100 families are now safer thanks to the safety education and more than 300 working smoke alarms that they received in their homes on Saturday from Red Cross volunteers, firefighters and other community partners as part of the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign.

“Together with our partners in the Town of Clio and Marion County, the Red Cross helping to protect people and prepare them for emergencies like a fire in their home,” said Louis Palm, disaster program manager for the Red Cross of Eastern SC.

Families living in the Town of Clio who would like a free home fire safety visit can contact the Clio Fire Department at 843-586-8323.


South Carolina consistently ranks within the top ten states for home fire deaths per capita and the Red Cross assists more than 7,100 people a year, 2,000 of them children, after home fires.

 The one-day blitz was part of a larger campaign by the Red Cross aimed at reducing deaths and injuries due to home fires by 25 percent. Since the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign launched in October 2014, the Red Cross and its partners have installed nearly 6,500 smoke alarms in communities across South Carolina.

The American Red Cross and its partners, including the South Carolina Office of State Fire Marshal, the South Carolina Firefighters Association, and local fire departments, are working together to save lives, reduce injuries, and preserve property. Together, they are keeping families safe across South Carolina by installing smoke alarms and teaching people how to lessen their chances of suffering from a home fire.

The Red Cross and its partners also are asking every household in America to take the two simple steps that can save lives: checking their existing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home.


  • Visit redcross.org/SC to find out more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fire. 
  • Find the location of smoke alarm installation events or to become a volunteer, contact the Eastern SC Chapter of the Red Cross at 843-477-0020 or visit redcross.org/sc/homefires
  • Donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. We respond to nearly 70,000 other disasters every year, from home fires to wildfires and more.


photos by Dennis James