National Volunteer Week

April 23 – 29 is National Volunteer Week. It is great that we have this designated week to bring awareness of the good done in our community. Volunteer recognition should also be on going, not just given during this week.

In my current role of Donor Recruitment for the American Red Cross I am lucky that I get to work with lifesavers every day! Our volunteers coordinators who organize the local blood drives in their work place, community or school. Our blood donors who give of their time to help save lives. I am also one of those lifesavers giving 61 times in my lifetime and saving a potential of 183 lives.

This video is dedicated to all those who give of their time and/or blood. The American Red Cross is grateful for the community support!  We can’t save lives without our volunteers and donors.

The Dancing Shoes are Coming out of Retirement!

I will be entering the ballroom once again on February 24, 2018 for the 10th Annual Dancing with Our Stars for the American Red Cross. This year will be bitter sweet. We have an amazing crew of All Stars from previous years, but this will also be the last year for this event.

I have been apart of this event since it came out of the mouth as an idea from past board member, Jim Gagnon. From our first year at Riverside Ballroom with the dancers dodging the chicken cart, to the production it is today at the KI Center! As the saying goes…. “All good things must come to an end”…. it is time – the event has run its course.  In those 9 years the community has stepped up to show their support for the Red Cross in helping raise over 2 million dollars and we hope to raise our most ever in our last year.

The first year I danced was in 2014! That was a special year. I was turning 40 four days before the event, and “40 for 40” served as my fundraising campaign. Not only did I hit my goal of $40,000, I crushed it, raising $54,000 for the American Red Cross.  I am still in awe of the generosity of my family, friends, strangers and businesses who supported me. I also had the most EPIC 40th Birthday Party Fundraiser a girl could ever ask for!

My friends and family that volunteered for my 40th birthday fundraiser!

I looked back on event night and my dancing videos and I still think, that was me! I was so nervous the night before I actually puked, but the day of the event, I was like “I got this”.  It was seriously one of the best nights of my life.

After such an amazing 2014 experience, why would I do it again? Why not? This event not only raised incredible amounts of money for programs and services for the Red Cross, it has also created life long friendships of people, that otherwise probably would never have met.

I know I am so grateful to have met every single star dancer and pro partner that has stepped up to take on this challenge.

We have a very motivated, hard working and amazing group of “All Stars” that want to see this event go out with the BANG it should!

My goal – to help our team raise $600,00 in our last year! If you wish to support me, please give — give to the organization that has given me so much in my 16 years!  My humbled thanks!


100 pints for 100 years!


Have you ever been a part of something that made your heart feel like it was going to burst, it was so full of love? This is the only way to describe how I felt when I saw the pure joy and emotion on the face of Blanche Baudhuin on Tuesday, March 8th.

What happened on this day you ask? Friends, family, strangers, and the community came together to accomplish an amazing act of kindness all centered around this special lady. Blanche is a 40 year volunteer with the American Red Cross. March 13 was her 100th birthday. What better way to celebrate than by hosting a 100 unit blood drive in her honor.

I talked to her about this idea back in December when I stopped by one Saturday for a visit. I said, “Blanche, what shall we do for your birthday this year? It has to be special, it is the big one!”.  I suggested, “What if we hosted a 100 unit blood drive in your honor?”  She was tickled pink, and thought it was an amazing idea — and then she said to me (which made me tear up). “I really want to make it to 100, I really do.”

Once we started the wheels in motion, it felt like everything started to fall into place. The Green Bay media (television, radio and the newspaper) all did amazing features on Blanche during the two weeks before the drive. She was an instant celebrity across Northeast Wisconsin. Titletown Brewing Company donated rootbeer for the big day, Pastor Errer from Faith Lutheran Church, where the drive was helded, donated two birthday sheet cakes, many of the Red Cross staff pitched in for sloppy joes, chips, cheese, crackers and other goodies.

Now we just needed donors! To collect 100 units that would mean we would need over 100 people to come in to roll up their sleeves and donate (to account for deferrals and no shows day of.)

12806225_10207234470113419_7128114126914682391_nGoing into the day we had 90 appointments.  I had faith, the Green Bay community would show and show they did! Blanche got to the drive 45 minutes before it started at 11:30 to get comfortable at her registration area, the role she does every Thursday in the Deckner Blood Center.   Starting at 11, donors started coming, and not only to donate blood, they brought cards, gifts and flowers for Blanche. She received two beautiful bouquets of roses and carnations and we still don’t know who they are from. The card only said, “Thanks for the thousands you have helped whom you have never met, Happy 100th.” 

The day was a whirlwind for me, I can’t imagine what it was like for Blanche. The people just kept coming and giving. At noon, we all sang “Happy Birthday” and after we got done, Blanche chimes up, “You forgot the second verse – How old are you? “.  We started singing again, “How old are you?” and she sat at the table and giggled.


I am still in awe of all those that came out to support this amazing day. The Mayor stopped by to wish Blanche a Happy Birthday, friends of hers from Milwaukee, past Red Cross staff and volunteers, and total strangers. Gail McGovern, President and CEO of the American Red Cross even created a personal video message for Blanche.

So many people mentioned they saw the story about the blood drive on TV, heard on the radio, or read in the paper and came out — some of those being first time donors.  One woman, saw the article in the paper, and Blanche and her mother shared the same birthday and both turning 100 years old. Unfortunately, this women lost her mother in January. When she read the article she knew she had to come out and donate in memory of her Mom and in honor of Blanche.

It was about 5:15pm (the drive ended at 5:30) and the supervisor for the drive, let us know we had our 100th pint collected. The expression on Blanche’s face is one I will never forget.  I think everyone got a tear in their eye (ok, I got more than a tear). We had this bell for her to ring, and she was so excited, she forgot, and we are all chanting, “ring the bell, ring the bell.” and she is literally jumping and ringing the bell over and over, she was so excited. Overall we collected 114 units that days, saving a potential of 342 lives.

When I think back on this day, it still brings a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. I am so grateful for all the donors who gave, the staff for their hard work and the community for making this a day Blanche will never forget. The only way to describe the day was magical.

Click HERE to see additional pictures from the day.




31 Days of Giving: Day 9 – Gift of Life

#GiveWithMeaning badge_rc_lifesaver

Today I gave one of the greatest gifts I could give to anyone, and that is the gift of life! I am lucky that I am one of the estimated 38% of the U.S. population that is eligible to donate, but did you know that less than 10% actually do each year?

Take a break from the holiday rush, and give something that means something. Consider donating blood or platelets in honor of a loved one, or start a new holiday tradition with family and friends by donating together!

You can make a difference this time of year, as your donation is critically important to maintaining an adequate blood supply.

Please schedule your appointment today.