Even though it is Preparedness Month, sometimes we see Red Cross related news that even catches us off guard. Here are a few amazing/interesting/awkward stories from the past two weeks.
If the film Forest Gump taught us anything, it was that running long distances can be a great way to raise awareness (Also- that chocolate is amazing). Meet Australian Pat Farmer. At 48 years old, he holds many Australian running records and has run around the entire country and through the desert interior. Now, he is planning to run from the North Pole to the South Pole in a 13,000 mile/ 11-month journey (including through North America). Why does he want to do this? To increase awareness of international water and sanitation programs, and hopefully raise $100,000 for the Red Cross. After the trip is over, he plans to come back to the States to visit the United Nations and make an additional appeal for help.
Speaking of a ‘world’s longest’ to raise awareness, the British Red Cross is preparing a 30,000 mile taxi ride from London to Sydney. Using a vintage London black cab, three friends hope to raise 20,000 pounds for the British Red Cross while taking 8 months to travel through four continents. Their adventure will be posted online at http://www.itsonthemeter.com/.
And speaking of the British Red Cross, they recently conducted a study on the effects of alcoholism on youth. In the UK they might not be able to legally purchase alcohol until they are 18, but they can consume it privately at age 5 and publicly at age 16. This means that occasionally youth have to deal with drunk friends getting injured or losing consciousness. To find out just how many and how young, the British Red Cross took a poll of 2,500 British kids and found one in seven young people (some as young as 11) have had to deal with a drunk friend facing an emergency. Only 10% called emergency responders, and over half called their parents. This has become a call to action for the British Red Cross to train youth in the importance of first-aid and dealing with crisis situations.
Apparently youth don’t learn how to deal with crisis situations from video games, but they aren’t all completely without benefit. Eve Online is a massive multiplayer online game and features a rather unique system in which gametime can be purchased as an in-game Pilot License Extension (PLEX) that can be traded or sold to others. Now, the developer is allowing PLEX cards to be traded back into donations for the Pakistani Red Crescent for flood relief efforts. They held a similar program earlier this year for Haiti, and raised over $40,000 for the Red Cross. PLEX can also be destroyed if your character’s ship is destroyed, as one person learned when they lost six years worth of game-time, so donating to a worthy cause sounds like a much more appropriate use. And, it sounds like a better video game than the recently announced ‘Blood Drive’, that involves running over zombies instead of saving lives through blood donations.
A more appropriate mention of a blood drive would be this one from the Comstock Inn in Saginaw, Michigan. Carol Stutzman was donating to reach the incredible milestone of 22 Gallons. That is at least 176 donations! If you donated every 56 days, that would still take 27 years to achieve. Which Carol strives to do, as she is actually an Oregonian who was in Michigan visiting family. Domestic travel doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have an opportunity to donate, as the American Red Cross collects blood across much of the United States.