LETTER: Red Cross plays vital role

To the editor:
   As a board member with American Red Cross New Jersey Crossroads, I would like to share with you and your readers what the organization means to me and my family, and what a vital role it plays in our community.
   March has been proclaimed Red Cross Month by every president since the tradition began in 1943.
   Red Cross Month is observed in dedication of everyone who supports its mission. This year’s theme is “Everyday Heroes.”
   I would like to recognize our Everyday Heroes who reach out to help their neighbors when they are in need.
   I also encourage the members of our community to take advantage of the services of the American Red Cross and become an Everyday Hero.
   Accidents and emergencies can happen anywhere at any time.
   We lost our daughter, Danielle, 14 years ago after suffering sudden cardiac arrest.
   Danielle’s death was attributed to Long QT Syndrome, an electrical disorder of the heart.
   We were not aware she had this condition.
   Through Danielle’s death we learned the importance of Adult CPR/AED training, and over the last 13 years have arranged to have American Red Cross Adult CPR/AED training available to arm community members with life-saving skills.
   Program participants have learned how to perform CPR and use automatic external defibrillators, what to do if someone is choking, and how to respond to emergencies until advanced medical help arrives.
   The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year in this country.
   It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families.
   It collects and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains millions of people in first aid, water safety, and other life-saving skills every year.
   Here in the North Jersey Region, the Red Cross has responded to 485 local home fires, assisted 1,985 military families, and trained 79,341 people in lifesaving skills. Additionally, people from this area donated 26,500 units of blood.
   March is a great time to learn more about the American Red Cross and its services.
   I encourage our community to get involved in this wonderful humanitarian organization.
   It’s easy. Any adult can take a variety of health and safety classes, including Adult CPR/AED training. Household members can work together on a preparedness plan.
   People can sign up to volunteer their time, give blood or make a financial donation.
   You can also join my family and me by supporting Celebrate Red, the Red Cross’s annual celebration of “March is Red Cross Month,” to be held this year on April 3 at The Park Savoy Estate in Florham Park.
   Please visit redcross.org/Summit to see the several ways you can participate – become an event sponsor; attend the event, advertise in the event program, and/or donate to the silent auction.
   Residents of New Jersey can also help the Red Cross while filing their 2013 NJ State Tax Returns.
   Donations can be made by checking box 64 on the NJ-1040 Form and entering Code 14 for the American Red Cross-NJ Fund.
   We are grateful to the services of the Red Cross and to everyone who supports March is Red Cross Month.
   Your generosity enables the Red Cross to continue its work. Become an Everyday Hero during Red Cross Month by helping your neighbors.
Sharon Brender
Board Member,
American Red Cross
New Jersey Crossroads 