Burn Patient in 1959… Blood Donor Ever Since

July 24, 2014

Larry Tesh

The year was 1959 and Larry Tesh was 16 years old. He was going about his day as a gas station attendant.

As he was filling up a car, some gas shot out and soaked his clothes. Gas evaporates pretty quickly so it wasn’t long before he was dry again. He went about the rest of his day. There was no need to change clothes. He smelled a little like gas, but he did work at a gas station. That wasn’t uncommon.

Later in the day, he went to burn some trash. That’s when his day took a turn for the worse. He lit the trash. Then a spark got out and lit him. He rolled in the gravel to put out the fire- but not before he was pretty badly burned. He was rushed to the hospital, where he would spend the next two months.

Larry received two gallons of blood and says, “If somebody hadn’t given blood, I wouldn’t be here. We can go to the moon but we cannot make blood.”

When he was back on his feet, he decided to replace those two gallons that saved his life. Donating every 56 days, that takes more than two and a half years. After he repaid what he considered “his debt”, he kept giving… and he hasn’t stopped since. He has donated hundreds of times over the past five decades. He says he wants to save enough lives to fill a stadium.

We have an urgent blood need right now. Summers tend to be a little slower because the kids are out of school and people are off their normal schedules. Many high school and college campuses hold drives that we depend on to meet our goals through the school year. When school is out, there are no school drives. People also tend to be on vacation and may not make it for their regularly scheduled church or company blood drive. That all adds up… as the constant need continues to subtract from our blood supply.

Will you donate blood this week? You never know when someone in your family will need it. You can give by calling 1-800-REDCROSS or click on http://www.redcrossblood.org/

You may not have another opportunity to save a life today.

Making Monday Mornings Better

July 21, 2014

Who really likes Mondays?

Here at the Red Cross, out of all seven days, Monday probably wouldn’t be our top pick. Yet there’s one thing we look forward to each week- Henry the volunteer.

Henry Tripp

Henry Tripp name tag

He’s here every Monday morning for his volunteer shift as receptionist… usually wearing a jacket and tie- and always wearing a smile. He asks how our weekend was and tells us about his. It’s a nice way to start what would otherwise be just another Monday.

There’s a lot more to Henry though. He helped get a Disaster Action Team started for Pleasant Garden back in 1997. He was on the team for a while- getting up at 2:00am with the best of them to make sure that when his neighbors faced a disaster, they got the help they needed. When there was a larger scale disaster, he drove the ERV and helped give out food to those who’s houses were affected and to the volunteers who were helping with the clean-up.

That takes a lot out of a person so he moved on to be a blood volunteer- serving in the canteen and as a greeter. He remembers 911. He wasn’t in NYC but in GSO. He said the line to donate blood was out the door and around the corner. Local restaurants showed up with food for them to give out to keep people from leaving. People waited for hours. Sadly, most of that blood wasn’t able to be used by the intended recipients.

Henry spent some time helping to maintain the chapter vehicles too- but his favorite volunteer position so far is his current job as receptionist. He says he gets to learn about everything that’s going on with everyone- from disaster to blood to communications. He says he likes to be in the know.

We like his smiling face… every Monday morning.

Donated Blood Helped Him Keep A Secret

July 17, 2014

Paul's storyMy father kept a secret for many years about his health. In 2000 my father had bypass surgery, that isn’t the secret, what happened for the next 9 years is.

One of the problems of bypass surgery is the medication used during the operation at that time had potential side effects. One was the possibility of causing damage to the kidneys. Healthy kidneys produce a hormone called erythropoietin, or EPO, which stimulates the bone marrow to make red blood cells needed to carry oxygen throughout the body. Damaged kidneys don’t make enough EPO, and bone marrow then makes fewer red blood cells. This was the case with my father.

Under the radar Dad started receiving blood transfusions. This went on for the next 8 years, until his health began to show signs of deterioration that he could no longer hide. Dad reveled to us the blood transfusions he had been receiving over the years that would extend his life, because his kidneys had failed to produce the hormone needed to stimulate the bone marrow to renew his red blood cells.

The blood transfusions were getting closer and closer together as his kidneys continued to fail. Finally in his 9th year of transfusions dad had to go on dialysis to survive. On April 8 of 2009 my father passed away due to kidney failure.

The point of my story is, while the disease was a fatal one, the blood transfusions extended his life by 9 years in a very good and healthy lifestyle. My brothers and my father played golf that whole summer and fall in his final year something none of us would miss because we knew this could be his last year. So these transfusions not only extended his life, but his life was worth living.

I have been a lifelong blood donor and when I learned of the type of donations that were needed to prolong dad’s life, I switched over to double red donations and will continue to do so in memory of my father and those wonderful donors that made my father so strong. So I do this because I love my father and in this way I can carry on his legacy for other fathers and anyone’s family member that can be given God’s gift of life.

I can’t think of better feeling you can get out of life than knowing the good that I have just done as I exit the doors of the American Red Cross.

You can read more great stories on www.redcross.org

Local Woman Helped by the Red Cross in Yugoslavia

July 14, 2014

Written by Lili from High Point

My story goes back to the latest war in former Yugoslavia, 1992-1995. The war spread like a wild fire throughout the country. My sister and I left in April of 1992 to visit my mom in Austria and within one week borders were closed and no one could go in or out of the country. Feeling blessed for escaping the horror of the war, we were heartbroken at the same time for leaving our dad and my husband behind. We couldn’t go back and they couldn’t come out of the country. For 6 months phone lines were dead and no mail could go in or out. We had no way of knowing if they were alive or what was going on. One of the saddest times in our lives. Like most families experiencing similar situations, we prayed and put our faith in The Lord. God is great.
After 6 months I received a letter from my husband. The letter was delivered by RED CROSS. Regular mail currier was still unavailable in that part of the world. In normal conditions it would take 2-3 days to receive a mail but this one travelled for months before it got to me. I was so happy and relieved to know that they were alive.
After couple of years my husband and I were reunited. He shared the stories. There was no food and money was worthless. People were dying and separated from the loved ones. Babies born in the middle of all the chaos.
RED CROSS was one of the first organizations on the scene. While war was still going on they were there providing basic life necessities and loving on people. They also provided jobs for the locals to help organize it all. My husband was one of them.
The war in former Yugoslavia was a religious civil war. Probably one of the worst kind.
While people of Yugoslavia fought each other, wonderful and human loving strangers risked their own lives and stepped in to help.
We are so thankful for this amazing country that we now call our home land. Truly blessed.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

All About Evan…

June 26, 2014

Leah Askew and her family

Leah Askew and her family

Leah Askew & Evan

Leah Askew & Evan

Blog post by Leah Askew

 Three years ago my grandson Evan, was born with kidney disease. At his young age, he’s  been through over 6 surgeries, more daily medicine than the average person takes and had doctor visits just about every other week since he was born. Then, in Dec.2012, Evan had to start dialysis, 3x’s a week, 4 hours each time. Last May (2013) his kidney’s were in need of a transplant. Luckily, my daughter Melissa, Evan’s mom, was a match, and she was able to donate her kidney to him. Today, 1 year later, Evan is doing OK. You’d never know he has kidney disease- he thinks he’s just a normal 3 1/2 yr old.

 Evan is the reason I decided to give blood! Complete strangers from literally all over the world have done unbelievable acts of kindness to Evan and my family. So many prayers, thoughts, kind nurses, doctors…  The list goes on and on.

 I can not think of a better way to give back that kindness than to give blood! What a wonderful gift to be able to give!  You never know & you never believe something as frightening could happen to someone you love so much! Giving blood, is giving someone life!

 If, for some reason, you can’t give blood, volunteer (bet they’d let you have a bag of cookies!) or take a class in CPR/First Aid. They have so many ways your acts of kindness can help. The American Red Cross is there when we need them, now how about, let’s be there for them!

He’s a donor… just like his big brother

June 23, 2014

Brian Rosser- Blood Donor

Brian Rosser- Blood Donor

Written by: Brian Rosser, Blood Donor

I have always given blood since I was able to in high school. I have always felt it was right to help others and donating blood is a great way to do it.

About five years ago, maybe 5 ½, my brother was 25 and passed away due to a motorcycle accident. Nobody in my family knew he was an organ donor until he passed away. After he passed away, we received a letter from the Red Cross saying they were able to use his eyes and femur bones as well as other organs and parts.

Knowing that my brother could help someone even after he passed away just made me want to help other people as much as possible.
A life saved is a life gained!

Nothing says “thank you” like cleaning a cot…

June 19, 2014

“We may as well clean cots on the hottest day of the year since we borrowed them on the coldest day of the year.”

Where do people like this come from? Why can’t there be more?

Katrina Kornecki is the Habitat for Humanity Manager of Volunteer Engagement- and she’s the one who said it.

Katrina Kornecki washing Red Cross cots

Katrina Kornecki washing Red Cross cots

Remember the ice storms from this past winter? Who could forget? The first week of March, Habitat had two groups of college kids in town to work on houses. As luck would have it, an ice storm was in town the same week. Habitat isn’t required to provide beds but the local organization wanted to do it. They borrowed cots from us at the Red Cross. No big deal. We strive to “prevent and alleviate human suffering”. It’s in the mission statement. If we can keep someone from having to sleep on the hard floor, we’ll do it. However, it’s very rare for anyone to say thank you for the cots -and we would never expect them to.

Sarah Edwards rinsing cots

Sarah Edwards rinsing cots

Sarah Edwards, an AmeriCorps member serving with Habitat, and Katrina volunteered to help us clean cots to say thank you for letting them borrow cots. (Today was winter cot cleaning day. It’s the day when we pull out all of the cots that were used to open winter emergency shelters. Others were used in homeless shelters over the winter. …and of course, a few were used by Habitat for Humanity volunteers.)

Now, they’re drying…

Cots drying

Cots drying

Just to set the record straight, we didn’t PICK the hottest day of the year intentionally. Unfortunately, it just turned out that way. That just makes us even more thankful for Sarah, Katrina and all the other Red Cross volunteers who came out today.


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