American Red Cross Blood Donor Wins Gibson Guitar

August 21, 2012

 Additional blood donors still needed this summer


St. Louis, MO.—Michael Gawlak is a longtime blood donor and guitar player, but the two activities were never related; that is, until this summer.  Gawlak, of St. Louis, was awarded a Gibson guitar after donating platelets at the American Red Cross South County donor center in Crestwood in July. 


The guitar giveaway was part of the American Red Cross’ Rock-n-Roll Up Your Sleeves summer campaign, which helped the blood supply throughout the Midwest.


Gawlak’s donation was his 81st blood donation, and he said he will continue to donate as long as he is healthy enough to do so.


“I do it because I can,” Gawlak said.  “I’m healthy.  Some people aren’t and don’t have the ability to donate, but I can and I do.”


As for as his new guitar, Gawlak, who’s been playing guitar since childhood, described it as “really cool.”


“When I came in to donate and saw the Gibson sign hanging up, I thought ‘wow’.  I got the Gibson t-shirt and the guitar pick (which were available to all presenting donors), but this guitar, this is going on display,” he said.


“We are humbled by the generosity of blood donors throughout Missouri, Illinois and Kansas who have responded to our Rock-n-Roll promotion and emergency appeal, including Mr. Gawlak,” said Scott Caswell, CEO of the Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region. “The Red Cross is so appreciative for each and every selfless act of giving. Our blood donors truly do this out of the goodness of their hearts.”


Across the country, nearly 15,000 donations have been given above expectations since the Red Cross first issued its appeal, cutting the blood donation deficit by approximately 30 percent to date. To keep up the momentum, the organization encourages anyone who has not yet given blood this summer to schedule an appointment and bring just two friends or family members along with them.


Although the number of blood donations has increased, the situation remains tenuous and more donors are needed in the coming weeks. If at least three additional people give at each blood drive through the end of August – above what the Red Cross already expects to collect – there would be enough blood on the shelves to meet patient needs through the end of the summer.


Donors of all blood types are needed, but eligible donors with blood type O negative, O positive, A negative or B negative are especially encouraged to give at this time. Anyone who gave blood at the start of summer may be eligible to donate again as summer comes to a close.

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 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. 


About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at