The Red Cross is 151 years old. As a humanitarian organization, it’s led by volunteers and provides relief to victims of disasters. Their mission has been to help people avoid, prepare for and respond to emergencies across the globe. First and foremost, their goal is to save lives. How much do you know about the Red Cross?
Beyond Donating Blood
We’ve talked before about the amazing work the Red Cross does providing live-saving blood. With over 600 chapters and 36 Blood Services regions, they’ve been making sure hospitals and medical treatment facilities have what they need. If you’ve ever donated blood, you may have received an email, letter or even a text message telling you where you blood donation was sent and how many lives you might have saved.
Though this is often what Americans think of when they hear or see something from the Red Cross, it’s just the tip of the iceberg with the organization. Their commitment to saving lives across the world is astounding.
Inspired by War
The inception of the Red Cross was inspired by the Battle of Solferino, where 40,000 troops were killed or wounded over the course of just one day
in 1859. There were few medics on the battlefield, and wounded soldiers were dying of infections or suffering needlessly. Jean Henri Dunant suggested “permanent societies of volunteers who in time of war would give help to the wounded without regard for their nationality.” Sound familiar? That was adopted into the mission statement of the Red Cross the very next year.
Clara Barton Began the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross didn’t exist until May 21st (yes, that’s today!) back in 1881. Clara Burton was a former clerk in the U.S. Patent Office who had spent some time mending soldiers in the American Civil War. After her time as a war nurse, she visited Europe and was exposed to the mission behind the Red Cross, bringing the idea back to the US.
Accolades for the Red Cross
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Red Cross has won the most Nobel Peach Prizes out of any organization worldwide. The various sub-organizations together with the parent Red Cross have won four in total.