Honorees ask all to roll up a sleeve to donate during a critical blood shortage

CHATHAM, NJ – The American Red Cross New Jersey Region honored five extraordinary women during the organization’s Celebrate Red! Gala earlier this month at The Westin Governor Morris in Morristown, New Jersey. Chatham residents Nicole DiMaggio, Michelle Clark, Melissa Fitzgerald, Marguerite White and Rosalinda Rubio-Williams received the Bob Clancy Culture of Caring Award. The local mothers are instrumental as organizers of the Stay Strong Michael annual Red Cross Blood Drive held in December at Chatham High School.

The Red Cross currently has a critical shortage of type O blood. Right now, type O blood is being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in. The Red Cross strives to keep a 5-day supply on hand at all times to meet the needs of patients every day and to be prepared for emergencies that may require multiple units of blood.

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“The Red Cross has less than a 2-day supply of type O blood available to emergency rooms right now,” said Stay Strong Michael Blood Drive organizer Nicole DiMaggio. “Type O donors ─ and donors of all types ─ are urged to give now to help ensure blood is on the shelves for patients when every second matters, as it did years ago for my son Michael.”

Blood Donations needed now 

Donors of all blood types, especially type O, are urged to urged to make an appointment to donate using the Blood Donor App, at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Eligible donors with type O blood are encouraged to make a whole blood or Power Red donation, where available. During a Power Red donation, donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact.

In thanks, all those who come to donate blood or platelets with the Red Cross May 1 through June 10, 2019, will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email. (Restrictions apply; see amazon.com/gc-legal. More information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.) Additionally, those who come to give May 24-28 will receive an exclusive Red Cross-branded T-shirt, while supplies last. 

The Stay Strong Michael blood drive is held in honor of Michael DiMaggio, currently a sophomore in high school. Michael was severely injured in October of 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 after 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 – have helped lead Michael to a miraculous recovery.

Michael’s mother Nicole, along with Michelle, Melissa, Marguerite and Rosalinda, organized the first Stay Strong Michael blood drive that year. The drive has been held every year since, collecting a total of 266 units of blood.

“These five women channeled their friendship into first, helping a family, and then teaching a community the lifesaving importance of donating blood,” said Christy Hodde, executive director, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “Their persistence and hard work pushes the goal higher every year, helping save more lives and reaffirming the mission of the American Red Cross.”

The Culture of Caring Award is presented annually and is named in memory of former American Red Cross Board Member Bob Clancy. A strong Red Cross promoter beset with volunteer spirit, Mr. Clancy was convinced that being involved with the mission of the Red Cross could help create a culture of caring in the community. The organizers are recognized for their commitment to help create that culture of caring in Chatham.

Other award recipients honored during the Red Cross Celebrate Red! Gala include BMW of North America, recipient of the William W. Augustine Award and Edward J. Susco, recipient of the Quinn Award.

More about Celebrate Red! and those honored can be found online at redcross.org/NJ.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 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 redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About the American Red Cross in New Jersey:
The American Red Cross provides programs and services to a population of 8.8 million in New Jersey. The Red Cross trains and mobilizes more than 4,500 volunteers who support the delivery of services throughout the state. In New Jersey last year, the Red Cross responded to more than 900 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping more than 2,250 displaced families; collected more than 94,500 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided more than 5,114 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained nearly 110,250 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. For more information, please visit redcross.org/NJ and follow us on Twitter @NJRedCross.org.)