Whether it’s an infant surviving the first moments of life, a parent living to see their child get married, or a soldier coming home from war, every blood recipient’s story is a moving one. As a Member of the American Red Cross Board of Directors in Los Angeles, I have been fortunate enough to get to know many of these stories first hand.

I joined the Red Cross Los Angeles Board in January 2018, inspired by an innate desire to protect, nurture, and help others while playing a more active role in promoting community health. I was already serving my patients in my private practice and protecting consumers worldwide as the head of Herbalife Nutrition’s Global Post-Market Safety Surveillance department, but I was motivated to further share my drive.

This year, Herbalife Nutrition is supporting the Red Cross in its #MissingType campaign to raise awareness on the importance of blood donation and the need for new donors. Our goal is to stress the need for donations from people with all blood types (A, B and O) that go missing from hospital shelves when they are most crucially needed.

This opportunity to merge my two jobs is really exciting because I’ve seen first hand how much the Red Cross and Herbalife Nutrition have much in common: from the purpose to help people achieve a healthier life, to the power of building communities through social support and the commitment to go to the places where other organizations won’t or can’t go in times of need.

From the very beginning, it was clear to me joining the Red Cross was the right decision for my personal and professional goals. I attended my first Red Cross humanitarian award ceremony shortly after I joined the Board. The presentations and video footage showing Red Cross’ national impact were awe inspiring and enough to bring me to tears. It’s one thing to see the numbers for outreach, blood drives, disaster response, education, and fundraising on paper, but it’s another to see this work in action. There really are no words to express how moving it is to see someone being helped in their greatest time of need, when they have nothing else, or nowhere to turn.

That is precisely what I find to be the most amazing aspect about donating blood: it allows communities to come together for the sole purpose of giving life to someone in need. In today’s busy world, the opportunities to help someone so personally and profoundly, let alone bring diverse communities together, have become too few and far between. That is why I am proud to be a part of these activities and do my best to be role model for my family, friends and colleagues.

Roll your sleeves up, find your nearest Red Cross blood drive and get ready to make a difference. The feeling of purpose and pride you will get from knowing you helped a person or a family in need is one of the most fulfilling experiences. Take advantage of one of the few opportunities where it costs virtually nothing to give the most precious gift any of us have: life.

Kristy Appelhans

Kristy AppelhansNMD, MSRA – Vice President, Global Consumer Safety

Dr. Kristy Appelhans serves as vice president of Global Consumer Safety at Herbalife. She holds a degree in Clinical Nutrition, a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine, and a master’s in regulatory affairs. As the head of Safety at Herbalife, Dr. Appelhans oversees a comprehensive global post-market safety vigilance and compliance program as well as nutrition safety education for employees and consumers.

To further channel her love for fitness, health, and science, Dr. Appelhans is a regular judge and competitor in professional level natural bodybuilding and fitness contests. Some of her favorite Herbalife products include Simply Probiotic, Formula 1 Banana Caramel flavored shake, and Herbalife24® Rebuild Strength protein shakes.