Stay Strong Michael Blood Drive Honors Young Chatham Resident

Stay Strong Michael Blood Drive

Submitted by Diane Concannon

The annual Stay Strong Michael blood drive will be held on Sunday, December 5, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Chatham High School cafeteria located at 255 Lafayette Avenue, Chatham, NJ.

The Stay Strong Michael blood drive is held in honor of Michael DiMaggio, who was severely injured in 2014 when he was struck by a car while walking home from school on a Chatham sidewalk. Michael suffered life-threatening injuries and required seven blood transfusions within the first 72 hours after the accident. According to his family, Michael’s strength and determination, coupled with the love and support he received — including lifesaving blood from volunteer blood donors — have helped lead him to a miraculous recovery.

“Blood is needed every day to help patients battling disease as well as facing disease and the unexpected,” said Nicole DiMaggio, Michael’s mother. “Donating blood is a great way to help others by ensuring hospitals have the blood products patients rely on available.”

Nicole, along with her friends, Michelle Clark, Melissa Fitzgerald, Marguerite White, and Rosalinda Rubio-Williams, organized the first Stay Strong Michael blood drive in 2014 to help make lifesaving blood available to others who may need it as Michael did. The drive has been held every year since, collecting more than 430 units of blood.

“The work by this group of friends to help collect lifesaving blood is truly inspiring,” said Rosie Taravella, CEO of the American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “Their devotion to the DiMaggio family continues to help educate others about the importance of having blood available when it’s needed most.”

Eligible individuals can make an appointment to donate using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Use the sponsor code Stay Strong Michael for the blood drive on December 5th.

People everywhere can honor Michael’s courage through a virtual SleevesUp campaign. By visiting the Stay Strong Michael SleevesUp campaign page, people can pledge their support by making an appointment at any convenient blood or platelet donation opportunity.

Blood Drive Safety

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, plus additional precautions, including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status. These precautions have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance and donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.

Save Time During Donation

Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at, or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

To donate blood, individuals need to bring either a blood donor card, their driver’s license, or two other forms of identification, since they are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years old, in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds, and are in generally good health, may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years old and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds, and provides comfort to victims of disasters; also supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood, teaches skills that save lives, distributes international humanitarian aid, and supports veterans, military members, and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit their page on Twitter at @RedCross.

About the American Red Cross in New Jersey:

The American Red Cross provides programs and services to a population of 8.8 million in New Jersey. The Red Cross trains and mobilizes more than 4,200 volunteers who support the delivery of services throughout the state. In New Jersey last year, the Red Cross responded to 1,125 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping 2,027 displaced families; collected more than 90,705 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided more than 6,502 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 77,010 people with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. For more information, please visit and follow them on Twitter at

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