Saxton, Pa., resident and blood donor winner of national American Red Cross Memorial Day drawing

June 17, 2013

Esther Miller has 1,000 reasons to be glad she came in to donate blood on May 31 at the Saxton Fire Hall.

The Saxton, Pa., resident learned on June 13 that she is one of five individuals from across the country to have her name drawn as a winner in the American Red Cross Blood Services’ Memorial Day donor promotion.

To celebrate the launch of the organization’s Summer of Stories campaign,  individuals who came in to donate blood or platelets from May 23 through 31 were entered to win one of five $1,000 American Express gift cards awarded.

“We’re pleased so many individuals, well over 150,000, stepped up to donate blood or platelets during this timeframe to help ensure that blood products are available for patients at a moment’s notice,” stated Marianne Spampinato, Communications Manager, Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region.

Miller, who has made 55 blood donations, first donated blood as a teenager, and tries to donate blood as often as she is able.  She expressed surprise at having being chosen in a nationwide drawing when contacted by the Greater Alleghenies Blood Services Region.

“Summer is a time for living it up, creating memories and stories that last a lifetime, memories such as watching fireworks, having a picnic, rooting for the home team, sleeping under the stars, relaxing by the pool or catching that legendary fish,” Spampinato commented.

“However, each day the Red Cross still needs 17,000 blood donations to meet the needs of patients at approximately 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. With schools out and families on vacation, it’s often difficult to collect enough blood to meet patient needs during the summer months,” she added.

Spampinato explained that during June, July and August, on average, about two fewer donors give blood at each Red Cross blood drive than what hospital patients need. This could add up to more than 100,000 fewer donations during the summer. For the 36-region American Red Cross Blood Services system, blood donors at high school and college blood drives account for as much as 20 percent of donations during the school year.

“Here in our 100-county service area, approximately 30 percent of our annual blood donations are collected at blood drives sponsored by schools,” she noted.

“So this summer, while creating stories of your own, we ask that you can also give someone time for blood recipients to make their own stories. Make a blood or platelet donation with the Red Cross,” Spampinato said.

Now retired, Miller explained she started donating blood while in nurse’s training. “Working in a hospital setting, I saw the huge need for people to donate blood to help save people’s lives. I try to give as often as I am able.”

To help encourage more blood donations, she added, “Please try to donate. It takes very little of your time and the blood collected will save someone's life, possibly yours, or a family member.”

Click to find an American Red Cross blood drive near you and schedule your appointment today.