More than 150 people including American Red Cross Los Angeles Region volunteers, donors and community partners came together at the Red Cross Stories event at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood last week for an evening of storytelling narrated by celebrities.
Elisabeth Rohm (“Law & Order”), Xolo Maridueña (“Parenthood”), Elisa Perry (“Everybody Hates Chris”), Yasmine Al Massri (“Quantico”), Pauley Perrette (“NCIS”) and Joe Zee (fashion stylist, journalist and producer) graced the stage narrating the inspiring stories that demonstrate the Red Cross’ unwavering commitment to turn compassion into action.
“The Red Cross is always there in times of need by delivering relief, comfort and hope,” said Jarrett Barrios, CEO for Red Cross Los Angeles. “At a moment’s notice, any of our lives can be impacted by an emergency and the Red Cross stands strong and committed to being of service to those down the street, across the country and around the world. We’re honored to share stories of this work.”
Red Cross Stories took place during a month-long celebration of March as Red Cross Month with the famous Paramount Pictures Studios water tower lighting up red. This month honors our volunteer heroes and asks Angelenos to be a hero, too, by sharing their #RedCrossStory, donating on Red Cross Giving Day (March 25), becoming a volunteer, giving blood or learning skills that save lives during #RedCrossMonth.
Red Cross volunteers and staff work to deliver vital services – from providing relief and support to those in crisis to helping communities be prepared to respond in emergencies. Each story narrated at the Red Cross Stories event represents mission work from each of the five lines of service.
Troy’s Story – Presented by Elisabeth Rohm & Xolo Mariduena
Although an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, less than 10 percent donate each year. Troy Stemen’s story is about his battle with leukemia and how Red Cross blood donors helped save his life.
“I was pale and lifeless – the only thing that would help was blood and platelets. They were always incredibly important. The donors are really doing a selfless act. The commitment they have, the sacrifice they make – not only of their time but their body – is something I’ll always be grateful for.”
Service to the Armed Forces
Debra’s Story – Presented by Elisa Perry
Statistics show that one out of five women in the military become victims of sexual violence, which also makes them nine times more likely to develop PTSD. Debra McCall’s story is about her battle with PTSD and how a single meeting with a Red Cross worker turned her life around.
“A door opened for me that day – suddenly I had support. It started with resiliency training through the Red Cross. Then I sought help to deal with PTSD. I received intensive support and love. After treatment for pain and trauma, I felt my strength return, I could believe in myself again. They became a source of guidance and hope for my family.”
Pheng’s Story – Presented by Yasmine Al Massri
Pheng Tran Port’s story begins when she was 5 years old in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, when Khmer Rouge invaded. Her family was forced to flee and separated for years. After the war ended the Red Cross helped her get to New Zealand, but she still didn’t know if she would ever see her family again.
“The Red Cross helped my Mum come to New Zealand. They paid for her airfare and escorted her from Vietnam to Thailand and then on to New Zealand. When I saw my Mum, I was speechless. When she realized it was me, she started to cry. My family was finally back together.”
Andrea’s Story – Presented by Pauley Perrette
Andrea Davis was a lifeguard as a teenager and learned CPR from the Red Cross during her training.
“Three hundred and fifty children under the age of five die in swimming pools each year. Because of my training, through the Red Cross, my son is not part of that horrific statistic, and I’ve been paying it forward ever since, as a donor and most recently as the former Board Chair of the Red Cross Los Angeles Region. I know first-hand, their work saves lives – because it saved my son’s.”
Disaster Cycle Services
Nathan’s Story – Presented by Joe Zee
At the age of 67, Nathan Gilfenbaum found himself looking for a fresh start in sunny California. His story is about becoming a volunteer Recovery Case Worker at the American Red Cross in Santa Rosa, CA, and his volunteer service helping his new neighbors after the Nuns Fire in Sonoma County, which burned more than 56,000 acres.
“In the Fall of 2017, California caught on fire. I’ve never seen anything like this, miles and miles of land in flames. People’s homes were disappearing, and it kept getting worse. Back east, I worked in the non-profit sector so when I heard on the news that rescue agencies needed help, I immediately signed up.”
The Red Cross Stories event was sponsored by The Walt Disney Company, Bank of America, Ares Management Corporation, Paramount Pictures, Josie Tong, UCLA Health and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.