Red Cross Takes Part in Santa Cruz Community Event

December 17, 2010

The American Red Cross is partnering with the California Donor Transplant Network and the Be The Match Registry for a Santa Cruz community event at the University Inn and Conference Center on December 28 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Visitors will have the chance to help the community in a number of ways.  They can participate with the Red Cross by donating blood or taking part in a disaster services overview.

The blood drive will run from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.  Schedule your appointment now or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Each blood donation may help save up to three lives.  The American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region collects nearly 100,000 pints of blood each year to serve patients in 30 local hospitals.  Allow approximately one hour for your blood donation.

The Disaster Services Overview (DSO) will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.  To register for the class, call 1-818-346-9683 or email

The Santa Cruz County Chapter of the Red Cross will give an overview of Red Cross disaster services.  The purpose of this course is to provide information on ways participants can help their community prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters.  Participants also learn about volunteer opportunities at their local Red Cross chapter.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to speak to representatives from the California Donor Transplant Network (CDTN) to learn about the Donate Life California registry.  The registry plays an essential role in saving and healing Californians in need of organ and tissue transplants.

Since the registry was introduced in April 2005, donors who had registered prior to death have helped save more than 1,000 lives through organ donation, and helped heal more than 35,000 through cornea and tissue donation.  In 2009 alone, 134 registered organ donors and 414 registered tissue donors gave through the state’s organ and tissue recovery organizations.

More than 100,000 individuals are currently on the national organ transplant waiting list.  Of the 21,000 waiting in California, more than 10,000 are Bay Area residents.  Growing the number of registered donors is especially important in the face of the disproportionate need for donated organs in California. According to the CDTN, experience shows that families are more willing to donate a loved one's organs and tissues if they have had prior conversations about donation with the deceased.

The Be The Match Registry, operated by the National Bone Marrow Donor Program, will also have staff on hand to provide information about marrow/stem cell donation.  People will have the opportunity to join the national marrow registry at this event by completing a consent form and giving a DNA sample with a cheek swab.

Thousands of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases depend on the Be The Match Registry to find a match to help save their life.  Patients need donors who are a genetic match.  Even with a registry of millions, many patients cannot find a match.  Donors with diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds are especially needed.

The Be The Match Registry also seeks people to donate umbilical cord blood.  In the past, when a baby was born, the umbilical cord was thrown away.  But today, blood from the umbilical cord can be collected after a baby's birth and donated to a public cord blood bank to help someone with a life-threatening disease.

Other ways to help the registry include donating time as a volunteer and donating money toward the care of uninsured marrow transplant patients, medical research and adding more donors to the registry.

The University Inn and Conference Center is located at 611 Ocean Avenue in Santa Cruz.