Emma Grace celebrates her “rebirthday”

Emma Grace (bottom, left) poses with her brother, parents and local American Red Cross CEO Angela A. Broome in front of the Bloodmobile at the Charlotte Knights game.
Emma Grace (bottom, left) poses with her brother, parents and local American Red Cross CEO Angela A. Broome in front of the Bloodmobile at the Charlotte Knights game.

At age 10, Emma Grace Barnes, of Fort Mill, S.C., is not your typical blood drive sponsor. She’s a spunky fifth-grader at Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy, and she dances at Miller Street Dance Academy.

In July 2011, Emma Grace became very sick. She was diagnosed with AVM (arteriovenous malformation) in her brain, causing her brain to bleed. Doctors had to perform a craniotomy on Emma Grace. She also underwent radiation treatments and had to receive blood transfusions.

Many with AVM do not survive. Those who do, call their survival date a “rebirthday.” Emma Grace realized how thankful she was to receive blood, and it helped save her life. She decided to host a blood drive at her dance school, which has been an integral part of her recovery—physically, mentally and socially. Never doing anything half-way, Emma Grace’s first blood drive was a big success, surpassing her goal of 25 units, and collecting 27 pints of blood!

“When people donate blood you can know for a fact that you did something good for another person who really needed it,” said Emma Grace.

“Emma Grace has faced each step with courage and determination. I am so proud of her,” said Emma Grace’s Mom Emme Barnes. “As a parent of a child who needed the blood when we were in crisis mode helping her recover from such an invasive surgery, it was comforting to know that someone’s selfless act of donating blood made such a huge difference. It was one less thing to worry about in the hospital so we are truly grateful.”

Emma Grace now wants to host a blood drive at her dance studio every July to celebrate her “rebirthday.”

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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.

Burke County BB&T helps prepare local students

Some of the 150 readiness kits the team at BB&T assembled.

Each year, BB&T has a lighthouse project in which the Morganton team works to enhance the quality of life for residents of our community. 

This year, a group of five staffers worked 10 hours shopping for items and preparing 150 readiness boxes for the local American Red Cross. These kits will be given to students in the area hit by the January tornado.  

“Tragedy happens so fast that we want to emphasize the importance of being prepared,” said Wanda Rose, VP , Agency Manager with BB&T. “We wanted to work with American Red Cross because of the great work they do in Burke County and we’re proud to team up with them and help in any way we can.”

Cabarrus students learn preparedness skills at Ready Kids Camp


Smokey the Bear teaches fire safety at the Red Cross Ready Kids Camp.

The Cabarrus County Chapter Ready Kids Camp aims to help youth learn safety skills.

Campers benefit from the experience of our program partners who demonstrate and give necessary tools for the campers to take home to share with their families. Each camper is provided with a beginner Disaster Preparedness Kit containing: a first aid kit, flashlight, whistle and lots of information.

Students also lean fire safety skills, bicycle riding skills, internet security and more, depending on the age of the child.

Water Safety is taught with the help of the American Red Cross Whale Tales Program. Campers learn to Be Red Cross Ready by giving them the tools to prepare for disasters.

Learn more about our Ready Kids Camp!