Carol Richardson of Delaware County has been named the 2012 winner of the Biomedical Achievement Award from the American Red Cross for her efforts to support blood donation. The award, given each year to a person or group who makes significant contributions to the blood donation program, is among the highest honors in the Red Cross system.
Three years ago blood donation was not a pressing subject for Carol and her family; it was another nice thing to do when you had time. But when her own 6-year-old daughter, Madeline, was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer, blood received from donations quickly became the fuel that kept Madeline alive.
When they got Madeline’s diagnosis, Carol and her husband Craig had just opened their own SYNERGY HomeCare franchise location in 2010 to provide in-home care to people in Columbus, Ohio. Their roles as caregivers quickly evolved from providing companionship, personal car and homemakeing help to their community to being 24-hour caregivers their daughter. “I learned what being a caregiver is all about. Every aspect of it,” said Carol. “Never in my farthest thoughts did I ever imagine the way the role of caregiver would transform me.”
While being caregiver to Madeline, Carol also took it upon herself to do more. Madeline’s treatments required she receive transfusions of blood products. Carol realized those donated pints of blood meant life for her little girl, and she determined to do all she could to get more people to donate it. Carol assisted in planning a school system blood donation competition, the Olentangy Battle for Blood, in which multiple schools tried to donate the most blood in Madeline’s honor. In its first two years, the battle brought in nearly 1,000 blood donations. Carol also produced a video showcasing Madeline’s treatment process and what blood meant for her. The video went viral with more than 18,000 views on Youtube, and was promoted by the national Red Cross. Carol became a fierce advocate, speaking at events and doing interviews about the need for more donors to help patients like her Madeline.
“Madeline’s story has become known across the country thanks to Carol,” said Rodney Wilson, Communications Manager for American Red Cross Central Ohio Blood Services Region. “Carol’s efforts put a face to the constant need for blood resulting in hundreds of blood donations, and touching countless lives. This is exactly the kind of amazing work that deserves the Red Cross Biomedical Achievement Award.”
“Being a caregiver is in our nature”, said Carol. “Whether by providing care or donating blood, you never know which end of the spectrum you will be on. It’s impossible to know what the future might hold. Are you the caregiver? Or do you depend on a caregiver? Are you the blood donor? Or do you depend on the donated blood?” explained Carol. “It can change from one day to the next. Be a caregiver, be a blood donor to anyone who needs it. Because it might be you who is in need tomorrow.”
Each day approximately 44,000 blood transfusions are needed in the U.S. For more information about giving blood through the American Red Cross, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.
How to Donate Blood
To schedule an appointment to donate please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org for more information. If you are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), meet height and weight requirements (at least 110 pounds based on height) and are in good general health, you may be eligible to donate blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.
About the American Red Cross
The Central Ohio Blood Services Region serves 27 counties, and needs 800 blood donors each day to meet patient needs in 42 hospitals. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org.
About SYNERGY HomeCare
SYNERGY HomeCare, a national franchise of home care, was founded in 2000 in Gilbert, Ariz. Synergy HomeCare now has more than 135 franchises in 37 states. For additional information, please visit www.synergyhomecare.com.