Everybody Needs an Atta Boy

Yesterday, I started calling businesses in the area asking for donations. This month is American Red Cross month and next month is Volunteer Appreciation month. So, since I have been helping the Red Cross with their volunteers, I offered to get some goodies to give to them next month!

About 96 percent of the services the Red Cross provides are done by volunteers. At our local Red Cross of Northwest Florida which covers four counties, that means just seven people are employed by the Red Cross. Everyone else is a volunteer. That’s awesome!

All those people come together to help others at a moment’s notice in their time of need during a disaster.  The mission of the Red Cross is to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. It completes its mission well with the help of more than 13 million active volunteers.

I want to give a shout out to Olive Garden and Red Lobster who immediately gave me $25 in gift certificates each. Chili’s said they would give me something as well. I will see what some other chains will do such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, Cracker Barrel, Dairy Queen, Another Broken Egg CafĂ©, Ciao Bella, and Firehouse Subs, all of which have restaurants in the local area.

March is also important because March 24 is Tuberculosis Awareness Day. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) Societies is involved in the fight against TB.

It’s hard to believe when 85 percent of all TB cases are curable that a new person gets TB every second and around two million people die from TB every year according to the IFRC and Red Cross websites.  

I didn’t know those numbers before, but I also did not realize that HIV and TB together is so prominent and deadly. According to the Red Cross, one third of the HIV positive people in the world have tuberculosis and tuberculosis is the most common cause of death for people with HIV.

Volunteers with IFRC help identify those in need of treatment and provide health education. They also provide social care after treatment, answering questions and making sure patients follow through with treatment and get enough good quality food.

According to the Red Cross, what is essential is to complete the entire course of treatment. Because of poor instructions and follow-up as well as side effects of the medication, many patients with tuberculosis stop taking their medications when they come home from the hospital and start feeling a little bit better. The disease becomes more resistant against medication and the healing process becomes more difficult. Red Cross volunteers help educate the sick and their families so they finish the treatment correctly.

The national Red Cross Red Crescent Societies also communicate with national authorities, policy-makers and the public to ensure that the necessary resources are available to control TB.

It’s time to give all these Red Cross volunteers an “Atta Boy” and “Atta Girl” for helping these people whose lives may be changed forever if they get TB and don’t get the proper treatment. Thank you, volunteers. God Bless You!

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