03/04/11 — Red Cross chapter kicks off Heroes fundraising campaign

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Red Cross chapter kicks off Heroes fundraising campaign

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on March 4, 2011 1:46 PM

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St. Luke's Fellowship Hall was the backdrop for the Red Cross "Heroes Campaign." Chuck Waller, executive director of the Wayne County chapter of the Red Cross, kicks off the annual campaign.

The story of a teen boy whose body was healed with blood donated by people he would never meet is just one example of how the American Red Cross touches its community, volunteers said Thursday during the organization's annual campaign kickoff.

And it's because of stories like that that the Wayne County chapter of the Red Cross does everything it can to get blood donors and to raise funds for its various community programs.

The organization launched its annual Heroes Campaign Thursday at St. Luke Church. Local "heroes" pledge to raise at least $1,000 for the Red Cross. That includes individuals, civic groups and businesses. Money is raised in a variety of ways.

It was at the kickoff that Dr. Steven Taylor, superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools, told the story about two boys, one a junior and the other a senior in high school, who were out driving, talking with the radio playing. As they came up to the intersection of Big Daddy's Road and N.C. 111 North, the driver didn't see the other car coming up to the intersection from the left. The two cars collided and three people were injured, with the young passenger being critically hurt.

He was taken to the hospital where doctors told his parents that if he lived, he would have to have some serious surgery for his lungs, spleen and other major organs that had been damaged.

During the surgery, the teenager had to have several pints of blood.

"Do you think he survived?" Taylor asked those attending the kickoff. "I am that guy. They put me back together. I am a working statistic.

"If it had not been for people like the American Red Cross, I would not be here today."

Taylor praised the Red Cross volunteers.

Teresa Williams, assistant emergency services director with the local Red Cross chapter, had her own story to tell.

Several months ago, her adult daughter was in a motorcycle accident and has had to have several surgeries, including one to amputate her foot.

"That first night she had to have 20 pints of blood," Ms. Williams said. "The most horrible thing was when I had to sign a paper to have my daughter's foot taken off. It was either her foot or her life."

As recently as four weeks ago, Ms. Williams' daughter had to have more blood, for a total of 78 pints over the past several months. She is bedridden today and has to use a wheelchair.

"Can you imagine if the blood hadn't been there?" Ms. Williams asked. She urged donors to continue giving blood for those like her daughter who need it.

During the kickoff, board member Darnay Barefoot said the Red Cross had a successful year last year, and added that he is looking for another good year in 2011.

The theme of this year's Heroes Campaign is "2011 Heroes Rock." The fellowship hall of the church was decked out in various colors of balloons with red, pink, green, blue and black inflatable guitars on the tables. Photos of Elvis Presley were displayed and a full-size inflatable, multicolored juke box sat on the stage.

Each person attending the kickoff received a rock painted white with the Red Cross's red cross on it and this year's theme.

Red Cross director Chuck Waller challenged everyone to "take your rock, go out and make some music."