Callen once asked me, “Mom, do people die when they run out of blood?”.

Just four year’s old at the time, he had already received his first blood transfusion- and clearly understood the relationship between blood and life. That day I made a promise to him that he would never run out of blood, and our relationship with the American Red Cross was born.

Two years, 20 drives and 925 donated units of blood later, YOU have done your part to help me keep that promise to my son. But between red cell and platelet transfusions, and now weekly IVIG infusions, Callen’s need for blood products has far outpaced those units donated in his honor. And he is but one of many in RVA who depend on your gift of life. Who have come to hope that when there is need, there is blood in the bank. Who depend on your life for theirs.

I humbly ask you to join me for our next blood drive at St. Mary’s Hospital [directions] on August 23rd from 12-6pm. St. Mary’s is where Callen received his diagnosis of cancer, his first unit of blood, and- with your help- it is where we will collect the 1,000th unit donated in his honor. To sign up, please use this link or go to and enter the sponsor code TeamCallen.

Thank you for keeping the promise alive!

Katie Tyson

Why Donate Blood?

You don’t need a special reason to give blood. You just need your own reason.

Some of us give blood because we were asked by a friend. Some know that a family member or a friend might need blood some day. Some believe it is the right thing we do.

Whatever your reason, the need is constant and your contribution is important for a healthy and reliable blood supply. And you’ll feel good knowing you've helped change a life.

Some Health Benefits

You will receive a mini physical to check your:

  • Pulse
  • Blood pressure
  • Body temperature
  • Hemoglobin

What Can You Expect

Come prepared.

  • Have a light meal and plenty to drink.
  • Bring your donor card, driver's license or two other forms of identification.
  • Bring the names of medications you are taking.

The Actual Donation Process

  1. Registration. The Red Cross staff and volunteers will sign you in and go over basic eligibility and donation information. You will read information about donating blood, and will be asked to show a donor card, driver's license, or other form(s) of ID.
  2. Mini-physical. You will answer some questions during a private and confidential interview about your health history and places you have traveled. We will check your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin level present in a sample of blood.
  3. The Donation. The actual donation takes about 8-10 minutes, during which you will be seated comfortably. The process is safe and sterile. Red Cross staff and volunteers will be available if you have any questions.
  4. Refreshment. After donating, you should have a snack and something to drink in the refreshments area. You can leave the site after 10-15 minutes and continue with your normal daily activities. Enjoy the feeling of accomplishment knowing that you have helped save lives.

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