The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. To cast your vote, use the social media buttons to share this story, or leave a comment below. If they reach 500 votes, the $5,000 donation they’ve already earned doubles to $10,000!
Though perhaps best known for its disaster relief work, the Red Cross also collects and provides blood and blood products to patients nationwide. In fact, the Red Cross provides 40% of the nation’s supply of blood and blood products, making it the single largest source in the country. Because of its reach, the Red Cross needs a donor base as diverse as the patient population so it can collect all blood types and treat conditions that require repeated transfusions such as leukemia and sickle cell anemia.
A community leader
To support the Red Cross’s vital work, the Davis Insurance Group has become a leader in organizing blood drives in the communities they serve. Located in Westover, W.VA., the agency sponsors the popular Halloween “Give Till You Scream” drive, the “Downtown Drive,” which supports local businesses by handing out coupons to donors, and memorial blood drives, which honor loved ones lost to blood-related diseases.
Ten agency employees support the nonprofit, including commercial lines agent Katie Luckini, who serves as a Red Cross Community Volunteer Leader and member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. A tireless volunteer wrangler, Luckini recruits people to support the nonprofit in a variety of ways.
Davis Insurance Group staff volunteering at a blood drive event.
Keeping donations flowing during Covid
Across the U.S., donation drives hosted by high schools and universities are usually some of the largest and most reliable sources of blood — which is why the agency often supports drives at these locations. So, when schools closed due to COVID-19 safety protocols, the Davis Insurance Group got creative. The staff found new locations for blood drives, such as the rehearsal space at a local dance studio. It also packed the calendar with donation drives at other alternate locations and heavily promoted them throughout the community. “The need for blood did not slow down during the pandemic, so we didn’t either,” said Luckini. “Working with our neighbors and business partners, we found novel ways to help the Red Cross continue its lifesaving work.”
“The need for blood didn’t slow down during the pandemic, so we didn’t either. Working with our neighbors and business partners, we found novel ways to help the Red Cross continue its lifesaving work.”
– Katie Luckini, Commercial Lines Agent, Davis Insurance Group
A final wonderful gift
Jason Keeling, Executive Director of the Allegheny Highlands Chapter of the Red Cross of Central Appalachia, praised the agency’s dedication to service, no matter what. “The Davis team continues to show up for us when volunteers are needed more than ever,” said Keeling. “Even during these challenging times, they have organized blood drives and kept the community engaged and informed.”
One recent drive was a memorial for a local young man named Demetry who received a devastating leukemia diagnosis. Sadly, Demetry passed soon after his diagnosis. But in his final days he set an ambitious goal: he wanted ten donations to be collected for every blood product he used while in the hospital. He also encouraged the Davis team to use his illness as an opportunity to educate people about the need for diversity in the donor pool. This prompted a large and active online effort in the community to promote diversity initiatives.
“When a community suffers a loss, it looks for ways to act. By setting this blood drive in motion, Demetry gave his many loved ones a wonderful gift,” said Luckini. “I’m grateful to be a part of this event and to work at an agency that gives me the latitude to be so involved.”
“The Davis team continues to show up for us when volunteers are needed more than ever.”
– Jason Keeling, Executive Director, Allegheny Highlands Chapter of the Red Cross of Central Appalachia
Giving the gift of life
Blood drives can be expensive. On average, a drive costs $3,900, with sickle cell trait testing running $77 per blood donor. If awarded, the American Red Cross of Central Appalachia would use a $10,000 donation from Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance to cover the cost of two blood drives and trait testing for 29 donors.