The American Red Cross recently launched the SleevesUp platform where individuals can donate blood in honor or in memory of someone. The concept is based on pledging to donate based simply by typing in your zip code and locating a local blood drive that you can conveniently donate at. This new platform allows you to help give the gift of life while encouraging others to donate blood with the click of a button.
I created my SleevesUp platform profile based on the concept of running 100 miles for 100 blood donors because I am on a life-long mission to make an impact in the world to help others and raise the awareness on the importance of blood donation.
One hundred blood donation pledges – one for every mile.
My campaign goal was to reach at least 100 blood or platelet donation pledges before the C&O Canal 100 mile Ultramarathon on April 24 in Knoxville, Maryland. The race consisted of one 58-mile loop and one 41-mile loop almost entirely on the C&O Canal, starting and finishing at Camp Manidokan and running along the canal between Antietam Creek and Noland’s Ferry. The furthest distance I ever ran before was 50 miles at the JFK 50 miler in Washington County, Maryland.
Ever since I registered for the C&0 100, I kept trying to wrap my mind around what it would be like to go beyond 50 miles, but I was ready for the challenge.
I gave my first blood donation back in March to officially launch the campaign, and over the next few weeks it warmed my heart when I saw the blood donation pledges adding up each day. I was able to reach my goal of 100 blood donation pledges in mid-April, and the night before the race I wrote down the names of the 100 blood donors on the back of my race bib to inspire me each step during the race.
Despite the brutal conditions on Saturday night, with freezing cold temperatures, the race was an incredible experience. It meant the world to have my wife and parents there supporting this journey because they inspire me every day. My good friend and fellow blood donor, Ray Jackson, also paced me through the final 40 miles of the race, which was the most difficult portion of the course for me because it was during the night and through rain and sleet. Running with Ray helped me to stay positive and fully focused on keeping one foot in front of the other. Through a lot of encouragement and support, I finished the 100-mile ultramarathon in just over 29 challenging, nonstop hours. While just over 130 runners registered for the race, only 69 crossed the finish line..
I dedicated a mile to each one of the 100 generous people who pledged to donate blood or platelets. Not only did I accomplish the goal I had set for myself, but I was able to potentially help up to 300 people in need of blood because one blood donation can save up to three lives.
When I compete in a race, it isn’t just me out there, there is also a team of many blood donors being represented also, and crossing the finish line is my way of showing the gratitude for the gift of life they have given me.
This is a short video the Red Cross made to document the race.