To commemorate Black History Month, the Red Cross is celebrating team members and how they’re making a difference to the mission.
Rose Kraemer’s interest in working for the American Red Cross began long before she joined the organization in 2011 as a lab tech in Detroit. Nine years earlier she had witnessed the real-life impact the Red Cross has on delivering lifesaving blood products to those in need.
The second youngest sibling in her family, Camron, was born prematurely at 2 ½ pounds. It would take numerous blood transfusions, combined with the specialized medical care at the hospital’s neonatal intensive care staff, that ultimately saved his life. Today, Camron is a healthy young adult “who eats my entire refrigerator,” Kraemer said, laughing. “It was definitely a miraculous turnaround.”
That experience left a lasting impression on Kraemer and continues to this day. “I always wanted to give back to the Red Cross after they saved my brother,” she said.
Throughout her Red Cross career, she has heard countless stories from colleagues and others who have been helped by blood donations.
“I’ve made some very strong connections with people who also benefited from Red Cross blood services,” she said. “I have friends who had cancer and received platelets that allowed them to fight a lot longer than they would have been without the platelets. One of my very best friends passed away in 2020 because of cancer. She had a longer fight and was able to stay very positive because she was receiving platelets.”
Kraemer has a special attachment to the Red Cross sickle cell initiative, which has made significant strides in attracting more eligible Black donors and boosting access to matching blood products for patients with sickle cell. She was a member of the committee whose work contributed to the Red Cross being honored with a 2022 Gold Halo Award in the category of best activism/advocacy by Engage for Good.
“When people think about blood, they think about car accidents, they think about platelets for cancer patients, and trauma patients. They don’t think about people who fight every day their entire life like sickle cell patients,” she said. “I just like to keep that awareness.”
Kraemer is the blood collections manager for Macomb, Oakland, and St. Clair counties. In this role, she oversees all blood collection operations and manages a team of 36 team members. It’s a dream position she aspired to since joining the collections team.
“There’s so much I feel I can do in this position,” she said. “I truly do want to be in this position until the day I stop working at the Red Cross. Even after that, I plan to volunteer and still drive everyone crazy. The Red Cross is a place where I have a lot of pride.”
To find out more about volunteering or working with the Red Cross Michigan Region, visit redcross.org/michigan or call 1-800-RED CROSS.