Danielle Jones joined the Southwest Michigan Chapter of the Michigan Red Cross only a few months ago, but she is no stranger to the need for blood.
“A lot of people in my family have been directly impacted by the need for blood, including me,” Danielle said. “It literally saved our lives.”
Danielle and her twin sister both battled cancer and needed blood. Her mother also needed blood after a serious car accident that left her mom with dozens of broken bones.
Danielle is now in remission, and she has just been cleared to start giving blood again. She rolled up her sleeve at the 37th annual Southwest Chapter Holiday Blood Drive on Dec. 30. The blood drive usually takes place Dec. 23 at the Radisson in Kalamazoo but had to be postponed this year due to a severe winter storm. Danielle says it is crucial that people understand how important it is to schedule donations, especially during the winter months in Michigan.
“There could be a shortage, there could be bad weather. It’s scary to think that people wouldn’t have the blood they need,” Danielle said. “That’s why the Red Cross is here.”
Danielle says she encourages people to come out and give blood as often as possible, even those who are afraid of the prick of the needle.
“Think of it like going to the gym – it might be uncomfortable, but you will feel so much better once you do it because you are saving lives,” Danielle said.
Danielle also asks people to explore more about what the Red Cross does in communities across Michigan. As a new board member she has been excited to learn about smoke alarm installations, home fire response and even responses to large-scale disasters like Hurricane Ian.
“The Red Cross has such a big impact,” Danielle said.
If giving blood isn’t your thing there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer at home and around the country, she said.
“It’s wonderful to see what everyone is doing and being among like-minded people who want to give back,” she said.
To schedule an appointment to give blood, visit RedCrossBlood.org. To find out more about volunteer opportunities near you, visit redcross.org/volunteer. To learn more about the Red Cross mission and how you can get involved, call 1-800-RED CROSS.