American Red Cross Honors Volunteer Blood Drive Coordinator for 53 Years of Service

April 13, 2011

In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 10 – 16), the American Red Cross Badger-Hawkeye Blood Services Region presented Betty Leiser with the Career Achievement Award at a volunteer recognition luncheon on April 13 for her 53 years of volunteerism as a Red Cross blood drive coordinator and advocate.

Leiser began her career as a Red Cross volunteer in 1957, recruiting  and educating community members about the importance of blood donation. She helped coordinate Monona Grove High School’s first mobile blood drive in 1959. For 20 years, she played an integral role in the drive’s success until she began organizing the One-A-Week blood donor club at Lake Edge United Church of Christ (LEUCC) in Madison in 1978. With Leiser’s leadership, the LEUCC One-A-Week club members have contributed more than 2,400 pints of blood to the Red Cross. 

“The altruism and dedication Betty has displayed throughout her years as a Red Cross volunteer are inspiring,” said Greg Novinska, CEO of the Red Cross Badger-Hawkeye Blood Services Region. “Betty’s longstanding recruitment efforts in her community help us meet the constant need for blood.”

Leiser was diagnosed with Poliomyelitis, or spinal polio, in 1955. Her limited mobility has not inhibited her contributions as a volunteer. Leiser is credited with creating a loyal and extensive network of blood donors spanning across Madison and Monona. For nine years, Leiser lent her services as a part-time dispatcher for the Madison Organization Behind Independent Living (MOBIL). She also served two years as volunteer braillist.

How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. 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 permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are generally in 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. 

About the American Red Cross

Governed by volunteers and supported by giving individuals and communities, the American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood products to hospitals throughout the United States. While local hospital needs are always met first, the Red Cross also helps ensure no patient goes without blood no matter where or when they need it. In addition to providing nearly half of the nation’s blood supply, the Red Cross provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.