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‘It’s incredible’: American Red Cross volunteer reflects on decade of service, importance of blood drives

Stefanie Millette has been a volunteer with the American Red Cross for the last 10 years and has assisted with everything from natural disasters to blood drives

PORTLAND, Maine — Stefanie Millette has been volunteering with the American Red Cross for the last decade.

Millette says she has helped with everything from natural disaster relief to pre-screenings for blood drives amid a pandemic. Most recently, she was among those on the ground helping when wildfires swept across parts of California last year.

"You are part of a very large disaster response, requiring waves of response, waves of relief," Millette said. "It's incredible to see."

It's important work that wouldn't be possible without the thousands of American Red Cross volunteers. The volunteers make up 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce, but organization leaders say they need more and they are always looking for new blood donors.

Those who are looking to donate can do so next week when NEWS CENTER Maine teams up with the American Red Cross for its annual blood drive. There are number of locations to donate around the state from Portland to Bangor. Millette says it's those people who make all the difference.

"There was someone who had been at the Boston Marathon bombings, saw it happen, and now she gives blood every single month," Millette said. "I was so inspired, I signed up to donate … and I hate needles."

Make a difference. Join us on Wednesday, March 24 for the blood drive.

RELATED: 'Help Can't Wait': Register to donate blood at NEWS CENTER Maine's 2021 Red Cross Blood Drive on March 24

HOW TO REGISTER:

  • Go to RedCrossBlood.org
  • Click on DONATE BLOOD then FIND A BLOOD DRIVE
  • Enter CODE: NEWSMAINE
  • Choose your donation site and time

PLEASE NOTE: Walk-ins are welcomed, but it can’t be guaranteed the staff will be able to take them. If a drive is fully appointed, and the registered donors are showing up, then the drives most likely won’t be able to take walk-in donors. 

However, if a location has several no-shows and a walk-in donor comes when there is a lull at the drive, then the staff should be able to take that donor. It’s up to the charge nurse on the day of the drive.