Eastern New York Region hosting an all-day event of blood drives and a virtual celebration with special guest appearances from J.R. Martinez, Paul Rudd, and Brian Reagan

The American Red Cross is celebrating its 140th anniversary this Friday, May 21, 2021. To honor the anniversary, the Red Cross Eastern New York Region will host six blood drives followed by a livestreamed virtual event celebrating the work of the Red Cross and its volunteers including special celebrity guest appearances. Business and community leaders throughout the region will roll up their sleeves in support of the event.

Appointments for the blood drives are open via redcrossblood.org and those interested are highly encouraged to schedule an appointment. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. is in need of blood, and each donation can save up to three lives.

Monetary donations can be made by visiting redcross.org/140years  or by texting RedCross140 to 76278. Your donation powers the Red Cross mission at home and in our communities.

The virtual event will feature four stories of success and action by the American Red Cross. Each touching on a different, life-changing and saving undertaking by its staff and volunteers, as told by the individuals whose lives were impacted:

Critical importance of giving blood:

A teenager and her mom share the story of how blood transfusions saved her life. Rebecca, the teen, came down with the flu and became critically ill. In fact, she flat lined four times in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. She would not have survived without blood transfusions. She has made it her life’s purpose to encourage people to donate.

Fire Response: 

Michael and Lacy had just finished lovingly restoring their dream home. Red Cross volunteers were in the neighborhood installing free smoke alarms and teaching critical fire safety tips. Two days later their house caught on fire and burned to the ground. Their lives were saved because of the Red Cross and the smoke alarms they installed.

Service to the Armed Forces: 

Kelley, a spouse of a deployed military member, shares the challenges of military life and her gratitude to the Red Cross as the one constant in an ever-changing world. She says that volunteering with the Red Cross gives her the ability to give back and purpose.

The mission moments will culminate with a keynote address from J.R. Martinez; an Army veteran, burn survivor, actor, motivational speaker, New York Times best-selling author, and Dancing with the Stars season 13 winner.

In his keynote, Martinez will share his thoughts on living a life of purpose, and his story of resiliency to leave viewers inspired and filled with optimism for the future.

There will be an additional guest appearances from Paul Rudd.

The anniversary blood drives will take place at the following locations this Friday, May 21:

Central and Northern New York:

Oneida, NY at Oneida Rec Center 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Rome, NY at Rome YMCA, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Syracuse, NY at Howlett Hill Fire Department, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Watertown, NY at Salmon Run Mall, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Northeastern New York:

Albany, NY at Albany Capital Center 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hudson Valley:

Rhinebeck, NY at the CENTER for Performing Arts 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For 140 years, people across Eastern New York have been able to depend on the Red Cross to provide relief for disaster victims, health and safety training, support for members of the military and a safe and stable blood supply. The Eastern New York Region serves 27 counties and more than 3.6 million people.

This event is made possible by the generous support of Red Cross community partners including:

Albany Medical Center

CAP COM Federal Credit Union


Ernst & Young

Fingerpaint Marketing

Hannay Reels

Hoffman Car Wash



National Grid

Price Chopper/Market 32

State Farm

Stewart’s Shops

Tri City Rentals

Media Sponsors:

News10 ABC – Albany


For more information on the event, or to donate, visit redcross.org/140years