Give Life, Give Love. Give Bears, Give Blood!

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Join Miss Murrieta Teen USA, Mimi Hymel, and Miss Southwest USA, Marybeth Maselbas, as we work together to give life and love to those in need!

What are we doing?

Give Life. Around the nation, there is a critical need for blood. Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, yet only 3% of age-eligible people donate blood yearly. As we begin to celebrate Red Cross Month, we also approach the one-year anniversary of the global COVID-19 pandemic crossing American borders. Now more than ever, we need people like you to roll your sleeves up and help us save a life!

Give Love. From small home fires to multi-state disasters, you can count on the Red Cross to be there to provide clean water, safe shelter, and hot meals to those in need. Immediately following a disaster, Red Cross provides families with Comfort Kits that include basic personal supplies and other items to help them begin the recovery process. For the child victims of these disasters, we include teddy bears to give them comfort and a meaningful friend that’s theirs to keep after they’ve lost so much. Help us help a child in need and donate a bear today!

How can you help?

Donate Blood. It’s simple! Pledge your support by clicking the red “Pledge to Give Blood” button at the top of this page. From there, you will be asked to enter your First and Last Name, Email, Zipcode, and optional message for Mimi and Marybeth. Once you submit, your pledge to donate is saved, and Red Cross will provide you with a listing of all upcoming blood drives in your area. Select a date, time, and location that works best for you, confirm your appointment, and then get ready to save a life!

Donate Bears. Too afraid of needles or ineligible to donate blood? Why not give love instead, and donate a bear or stuffed animal to provide comfort to children affected by disaster. We have local bear donation boxes set up at local businesses in both Arizona and Southern California. If you’re not in AZ or CA but still want to help, please visit www.comfortbearsinacatastrophe.com/get-involved to learn more about where to send your bears or monetary donations! If you choose to donate a bear instead of blood, please let us know by tagging us on social media and using the hashtag #GiveLifeGiveLove.

Who are we?

Our stories with the Red Cross look different than most. Both Mimi and Marybeth have seen firsthand the positive impacts this organization can make on an individual, their family, and community. Keep reading below to get to know who we are and why this cause is so important to us!

Mimi: At just four years old, Mimi faced devastation that turned her entire world upside down. She was living with her family in New Orleans, LA when Hurricane Katrina hit. When the hurricane struck, her family had just minutes to gather all of their belongings and evacuate to somewhere safe. Unfortunately for Mimi, her favorite stuffed companion and best bear friend, Cuddles, was left behind in the chaos. Mimi was completely lost without Cuddles and feared that he had drowned in the floods. To complicate her story even more, her father was unable to evacuate with the rest of her family as he was needed at the hospital he worked at. With phone lines cut off, her family had no idea where her father was and Mimi watched as her community crumbled around her.

For weeks, Mimi was upset, unable to sleep, and trying to learn to cope without her beloved Cuddles by her side. Her parents knew that they needed to find her a replacement bear and waited weeks for the stores to open again. When they finally found a look-a-like, they introduced him to Mimi as Cuddles’ little brother and at long last she began to feel better. During this time, the Red Cross provided her family with the shelter, food, and resources needed to recover and heal, but according to Mimi, there were no comfort items available for young children like her.

Now, at 18 years old, Mimi has decided to use her experiences to help provide other children comfort in times of complete chaos. She has partnered with the Red Cross and local businesses to create “Comfort Bears in a Catastrophe” and has already donated over 100 bears to child victims of disaster.

Marybeth: My story with the Red Cross began 25 years ago. I was born eight weeks prematurely with a condition called Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn. What that means is that I had a blood incompatibility with my mom, and her immune system attacked my red blood cells faster than I could produce them. This caused my mom to need an emergency c-section and I required multiple blood transfusions just to survive. The blood I received was donated by the Red Cross and after two months in the NICU and over 10 blood transfusions, I was able to go home with my family for the first time. It truly was a Red Cross miracle!

Six years later, despite advancements in medical technology, my little sister was born with the same condition. Once again, the Red Cross provided her with the blood she needed to survive and our family was forever changed. As I grew older and learned about our stories, I decided to make it my personal mission to dedicate my life to serving the organization that saved it.

In high school, I started volunteering in my local Red Cross Youth Corps and was honored to be elected as the Blood, Health, and Safety Officer on our Executive Board in my senior year. I then went off to college and chose to study Public Service, Public Policy, and Nonprofit Leadership. I began volunteering with the Phoenix chapter of the Red Cross as a Blood Donor Ambassador and had the amazing opportunity to spend a summer as a Biomedical Summer Youth Corps Ambassador helping at blood drives throughout Maricopa County. As I work to complete my studies at Arizona State, I now serve as a Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services Intern and work as a disaster responder and caseworker for those in need. I cannot even begin to tell you how thankful I am for this organization and how amazing it feels giving back to others!

What your donors are up to...

Take a photo of yourself donating blood and share it! Just use #GiveLifeGiveLove

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