WOODSTOCK, Ga. — For U-Haul Company of Atlanta North executive assistant Rebecca Carroll, the idea of doing something to help her niece, Kennedy, was always on her mind.
Kennedy was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia at age 12.
“One early morning, I was driving to work and thinking about all of the struggles that my niece was going through,” Carroll said. “I thought about the regular treatments and blood transfusions that she needs, and the sharp decrease in blood donations that we’re seeing nationwide because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Suddenly, I had an idea: Why not hold a U-Haul-approved and American Red Cross-sponsored blood drive at our regional marketing office to help people like Kennedy who are in so much need of these donations?”
Carroll asked U-Haul Co. of Atlanta North president Doug Weston III for permission to hold a 2021 event on U-Haul property, and to promote it to other Team Members. He was on board.
“There’s more to life and work than just showing up at the office every day, doing your assigned tasks and going home,” Weston said. “It’s important to take a second to step back from the crazy pace of life and to dedicate time to serve others. By volunteering to organize and plan a community blood drive, Rebecca showed that she is willing to do just that. I wanted to support her as much as I could.”
U-Haul Orange and WPD Blue
The U-Haul Community Relations team in Phoenix connected Carroll with a local American Red Cross representative, who provided the necessary staffing and medical equipment for the event.
“Facility maintenance technician Mike Williams Jr., field relief manager Derek Starnes and several other Team Members helped me to create and send out flyers and email invitations to local U-Haul stores and repair shops,” Carroll added. “They made the process of inviting people to the drive much easier than if I’d tried to do it all by myself.”
While Carroll pitched the event to fellow U-Haul Team Members, her husband, Matthew, did some advertising of his own. A detective with the Woodstock Police Department, Matthew invited other officers to participate in the event, and they jumped at the opportunity.
As a result, all 43 available blood drive appointment slots were filled – and a stand-by waiting list was created for others.
“The blood drive was truly amazing,” Carroll said. “Seeing my U-Haul and WPD families come together on behalf of Kennedy was an awe-inspiring experience.”
U-Haul is a longtime supporter of the American Red Cross, and has served as an official Red Cross Disaster Responder since 2015.
To sign up to donate blood through the American Red Cross, click here.