Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Red Cross Volunteer Story: Donna Flory

Written by: Emily Goff, volunteer

I first became involved with the American Red Cross as a blood donor over 30 years ago, and later a platelet donor when a friend of mine developed leukemia. Giving blood and platelets was my way of supporting my friend, his family and others at the same time.

Disasters also played a big role in my initial experiences with the American Red Cross. In the 1960’s, a big earthquake in Alaska affected my grandmother and I remember hearing how if not for the Red Cross, we wouldn’t have known that she was okay and cared for during and after the disaster. Additionally, when 9/11 occurred, like everyone else, I wanted to help make a difference. My time was spent organizing blood drives and coordinating the overwhelming response at blood donation sites.

Currently, I am part of the leadership council for Prince William County. I organize fundraisers, obtain sponsors for events, participate in outreach events, and when appropriate, I attend events dressed as “Clara B. Ready” to add some additional fun. I have also canvassed neighborhoods and installed smoke alarms for the Home Fire Campaign. Its experiences like this that motivate me give back. I’m part of a team of volunteers that goes door-to-door in vulnerable neighborhoods to check if people have working detectors and help to install new ones – FREE of charge.

In addition, I speak on a regular basis at hospitals, clubs and organizations on the importance of knowing CPR. I was originally trained in CPR and First Aid as mandated by the management position I held in the hospitality industry. I have utilized my first air training many times at traffic accidents, restaurants etc. That’s why when I speak, I offer to help pay for CPR courses for attendees wishing to become certified.

A very profound moment for me was when my husband, following a life threatening injury, had a full cardiac arrest in our living room. This happened on July 27, 2013 at 1:00 am in the morning. Without my training and the confidence that comes with such knowledge, Don would not be alive today. Only because he received CPR immediately, could he continue to be treated once arriving at the hospital. As a result, the doctors and staff at Prince William Novant Hospital and George Washington University could provide the necessary treatment that allows Don to lead a normal life of full-time work, driving, photography and vacationing, without physical or mental impairments. (I was awarded the ARC Lifesaving Merit Award for my actions) Get trained in CPR, you may save the life of a total stranger or someone near and dear to you!

During the very difficult and scary time of Don’s incident and recovery, not only were my family and friends there for me in the most amazing way, so was my American Red Cross family. At that moment my giving to the organization came back to me a hundred fold! We are family for life!

In order to become involved with the Red Cross, look at the ARC website, think about yourself, your family and find the area with America Red Cross that will allow you to make a difference. Look for an area of service that has impacted you. Use your story and life experiences to become involved and make a difference.


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