Saving Lives with the American Red Cross

Every eight minutes, the American Red Cross responds to an emergency. In South Carolina, those emergencies are often hurricanes and other storms, but the most frequent disaster the Red Cross responds to in our state is residential fires. During a seven-day span in June 2021, the Red Cross helped 32 families in South Carolina after fires devastated their homes.

It's impossible to overstate the impact the American Red Cross of South Carolina has on the communities it serves. As one of the nonprofit organizations served by the South Carolina Federal Credit Union Foundation, we've got a close look at the many ways the Red Cross helps our neighbors with emergency relief, disaster recovery, and education for accident prevention and disaster preparedness.

In addition to its disaster relief efforts, the Red Cross is the single largest blood supplier in the U.S. Unfortunately, blood donations have decreased over the pandemic, which has created blood shortages across the country. Luckily, Team Blue has blood donations down to a science.

Shylah Coker works in the mortgage department at South Carolina Federal, and she also serves as the employee liaison for the Red Cross. Shylah leads the charge on coordinating blood drives at our North Charleston location on Rivers Avenue, making it fast and easy for credit union employees to donate during the week. The blood drives are also open to everyone in the community to maximize the time and effort of the Red Cross volunteers.

For Shylah, the need for critical blood donations is personal. In 2019, her mother, father, and brother all needed blood transfusions for various illnesses.

"I donated blood for the first time as soon as I turned 18, as I knew it was an important thing to do. But I don't think I really understood how powerful that simple act could be and how much of a difference just one blood donation can make," Shylah explained.
Shylah recalls feeling overwhelmed with gratitude that there were always units of blood available for her family members due to the kindness of donors. Now, Shylah gets to spread her passion for blood donations by educating her colleagues, organizing blood drives, and encouraging blood donations one person at a time.
"I truly believe that everyone can make a difference. Even if I encourage just one person to give blood one time, that donation could be the difference between life and death for a patient in need. I'm so lucky that I get to work for an organization that encourages us to give back to our community as much as possible."

To learn more about the American Red Cross of South Carolina and find ways to get involved, visit