Laps for Life

Buddy Blood drop and the American flag decorate the front of the Charlotte Motor Speedway before the Laps for Life blood drive.

Hundreds of people came out to give the Gift of Life on Sept. 7 for the “LAPS FOR LIFE” blood drive in honor of the 11th anniversary of 9/11.  Thanks to the generosity of racing enthusiasts and Charlotte Motor Speedway, the American Red Cross collected 373 units of lifesaving blood, more than a hundred units over last year’s total.  The annual speedway drive continues to make huge growth and help save more lives each year.  In 2011, the drove collected 255 pints, and two years ago, 96 units of blood were collected.

Sheila Richardson, of Mooresville, donated blood in honor of her 9-year-old daughter, who she credits being alive today because of the lifesaving blood transfusions she received as a baby. 

 “If so many generous people hadn’t donated blood when my daughter needed it, she would not have survived,” said Sheila Richardson.  “It’s the least I can do to be able to do the same for someone else.”

The event kicked off with a special and emotional opening ceremony, remembering the victims and first responders of 9/11.  Local first responders were also honored throughout the day.

People who could not attend the 9/11 blood drive can call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit to schedule a lifesaving appointment.

The Red Cross Carolinas Blood Services Region provides lifesaving blood to 103 hospitals and must have 1,600 people give blood and platelets each weekday to meet hospital demand. Accident victims as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.

Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be safely given every two weeks, up to 24 times a year. Most healthy people age 17 and older, 16 with parental consent, who weigh at least 110 pounds, are eligible to donate blood and platelets. Donors who are 18 and younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements.


Create a Master Plan (CAMP)

Children learn Citizen CPR during Create a Master Plan CAMP.

Part of the Red Cross mission is to provide assistance to military members and their families. That’s why we jumped at the opportunity to hold a camp for children of veterans or parents deployed with the military this past weekend in Gastonia.

The point of the camp – called Create a Master Plan – was to provide children with valuable safety information but have fun at the same time.

Kids learned from hands-on activities such as Citizens CPR and Pet First Aid. Red Cross volunteers also taught emergency preparedness, flu prevention and water safety.

Joining the Red Cross on Saturday were the Gaston County Police K9, Gaston County amateur radio and Belmont Fire Department. Also there were representatives from a new program Horses for Forces, which is horse therapy for children of deployed men and women.

Children practice first aid and pet first aid during Create a Master Plan CAMP.

Military families enjoy Back to School Bash in Gaston

The American Red Cross recently hosted a “back to school bash” for miliary families of the Gaston County National Guard Unit. Families received school supplies as well as

On Saturday, Aug. 11, 15 volunteers – in conjuction with the Family Readiness Group – provided meals and activties.

Children enjoyed activities such as: bracelet making and face painting while parents learned how the Red Cross can provide them with assistance.

Learn more about Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces

Snapshots from our week

The Belmont National Guard held a Family Day July 15 at which 10 volunteers from the American Red Cross helped with fun activities like face painting, sponge pictures, and creating key chains and bracelets. Also on tap was a chance to watch the soldiers drill and do maneuvers. The Red Cross prepared and provided a picnic-style meal–hamburgers, potato salad, fresh fruit, etc for 120 people.


Latter Day Saints youth group provided the Red Cross with washing Red Cross Vehicles that are used to respond to disasters or provide transportation to individuals who have no other way to get to doctors appointments and dialysis.

Red Cross supports veterans’ group annual meeting in Belmont

The Red Cross was recently asked to prepare food for the National Association for Black Veterans (NABVETS) Annual Meeting.

Volunteers served sandwiches for veterans and their families at the Belmont Disabled American Veterans Center.

Some members of the NABVETS are also volunteers with the Red Cross Disaster Action Team. Dennis Wilson and James Irby recognized Sharon Hudalla as one of their team members and said they were very pleased to be a part of the Red Cross.

Dennis Wilson and James Irby recognized Sharon Hudalla as one of their team members on the Red Cross DAT.

Montgomery County honors Memorial Day


More than 70 people attended a Memorial Day Service at the Courthouse Square in Troy on Sunday, May 27.

Organized by the Mongomery County Veterans Council, the service featured speaker Rep. Ken Goodman from the North Carolina House of Representatives. There was also a wreath ceremony.

The American Red Cross supported this event, as Service to the Armed Forces is a core mission for the Red Cross.

Foothills Stand Down serves homeless veterans

Foothills Standdown
Veteran organizations, medical personnel, social service representatives and community leaders from the Hickory area hosted a “Stand Down” event to provide services for homeless veterans, needy veterans and any other community members in need of help.

The event, on April 20 at the American Legion Fairgrounds in Hickory, drew hundreds of homeless and needy veterans.

The Stand Down provided:
• breakfast and lunch
• healthcare screenings
• dental and vision services
• podiatry
• nutrition and health education
• social services
• mental health/substance abuse services
• clothing
• sleeping bags, toiletries, boots and other military surplus items