Bryan Rotary is partnering with the American Red Cross to host a blood drive at the Red Cross office in Bryan (4244 Boonville Rd.) this Saturday, March 28th. As the Executive Director of the Heart of Texas Chapter of the American Red Cross, I am charged with ensuring our blood drives are safe and that we can continue to supply blood to our community and country regardless of natural disaster, warfare or pandemics. I am requesting assistance from my fellow Rotarians as I navigate this mission in unprecedented circumstances.
 
Disruptions to blood donations can lead to shortages and cause delays in essential medical care. As of Monday, 3/23/2020, about 7,000 blood drives, representing approximately 200,000 fewer blood donations, have been canceled in the U.S. due to COVID-19 concerns. As concerns about the coronavirus pandemic rise, you can help by simply communicating these vital messages to the public:
 
• Donating blood is a safe process and people should not be concerned about giving or receiving blood during this challenging time.
 
• More healthy donors are needed to give now to prevent a blood shortage.
 
• Keep scheduled blood drives, which will allow donors the opportunity to give blood. As an emergency preparedness organization, the Red Cross has also taken additional steps to ensure the safety of staff and donors at each Red Cross blood drive.
I will personally serve a dual role on Saturday as the Bryan Rotary Representative and Blood Donor Ambassador as I learn the role and responsibilities of a host organization. My goal and my request is to form a small group of Bryan Rotarians willing to volunteer at future drives who will receive training to be come Blood Donor Ambassadors. If you are interested in this opportunity, please let me know.  
 
As the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to impact our communities, we need your help ensuring we have a sufficient blood supply to support hospital patients in Texas and across the country. The American Red Cross is working to continue delivering our mission, including the collection of lifesaving blood, but we have had a staggering number of scheduled Red Cross blood drives cancelled as more workplaces, college campuses and other venues send people home and encourage social distancing. Due to cancellations in the community, I have made the decision to host blood drives at the Red Cross office and ask that organizations wanting to host blood drives receive training through the local office.
 
AN APPOINTMENT IS REQUIRED. Walk up donors will not be allowed to donate.
 
Donors must make an appointment through the Red Cross Blood Donor App, online at RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
 
These mitigation measures will help to keep blood recipients, staff and donors safe. The Red Cross is also working to ensure we can continue to carry out other aspects of our lifesaving mission, including providing critical disaster relief services. We are working with public health officials to ensure the safety of local communities and our workforce, while still providing the help and hope they need should disaster strike.
 
I am asking Rotarians as community leaders to help communicate this critical need. Please let me know if you have questions. Thank you for your leadership during this time and for your help in sharing this message. 
 
I hope each of you is well and I hope to see you soon. Please take care and let me know if I can be of assistance during this time to you, a family member or a friend.  
 
AJ Renold
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