MORRISTOWN, N.J. — The American Red Cross New Jersey Region honored the organizers of the Stay Strong Michael Blood Drive with the Bob Clancy Culture of Caring Award during its annual Celebrate Red! Gala on May 9 at The Westin Governor Morris in Morristown.
The Stay Strong Michael Red Cross Blood Drive originated in Chatham by five local mothers in honor of Michael DiMaggio, currently a high school sophomore. Michael was severely injured in October 2014 when he was struck by a car while walking home from school on a Main Street sidewalk in Chatham.
Michael suffered life-threatening injuries and required seven blood transfusions within the first 72 hours of the accident. According to his family, Michael’s strength and determination, coupled with the love and support he received, including lifesaving blood from volunteer blood donors, helped lead Michael to a miraculous recovery.
Michael’s mother Nicole DiMaggio, along with Michelle Clark, Melissa Fitzgerald, Marguerite White and Rosalinda Rubio-Williams organized the first annual Stay Strong Michael blood drive that year. The drive has been held every year since, collecting a total of 266 units of blood. The organizers were recognized for their commitment to helping create a culture of caring in the community.
Other honorees included BMW of North America, recipient of the William W. Augustine Award and Edward J. Susco, recipient of the Quinn Award
"It is with grateful hearts that we recognize this year's Celebrate Red! honorees and their tremendous impact on our community," said Rosie Taravella, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. "Each of our honorees in their own way have graciously helped carry forward the Red Cross mission here in New Jersey."
Celebrate Red! is possible thanks to the support of sponsors, including Disaster Relief Sponsors BMW of North America, Celgene and Investors Bank; Humanity Sponsors Allergan, Proskauer and PSEG; Preparedness Sponsors AllState, Audio Visual Associates, Inc. and M&T Bank; Lifesaver Sponsor Deloitte; Hero Sponsor Ziegler, Zemsky, and Resnick LLC.; Dancing Sponsor Nisivoccia; and Auction Sponsor Ernst & Young.
Each day, Red Cross volunteers respond to local disasters, teaching lifesaving health and safety skills, ensure patients have access the blood they need to survive, support US service members and their families, and help those impacted by international crises.
Proceeds from the Celebrate Red! Gala support Red Cross program and services, including disaster relief for families affected by home fires. Last year, the American Red Cross New Jersey Region responded to more than 900 local disasters, mostly home fires, to provide comfort and emergency assistance for temporary lodging, food and clothing as needed to more than 2,250 New Jersey families.