This March, we’re marking Red Cross Month in the state of Vermont. The American Red Cross supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood supply, doing so through countless blood drives. For one young Essex girl, blood helped her live her short but inspiring life.

According to the Red Cross, one pint of blood can impact up to three lives.

“It’s a product that cannot be manufactured, the only way to get blood resources to patients who need them is to donate,” says Brad Howort, the Red Cross Biomed District Manager for New Hampshire and Vermont. “One of the things we like to say is that blood gives the gift of time,” he adds.

Addi Carroll

12-year-old Addison “Addi” Carroll knows the impact blood can have. Because of it, she was able to live life to her fullest extent, along with great friends from the Essex Fire Department and the Red Cross.

“Addi had an undiagnosable disease that ultimately took her life when she was 12 years old this past June. She never, not once, let on that her life was hard. She lived a really big, beautiful life as part of our family and the Essex Fire family,” says Tammy Carroll, Addi’s mom.

Addi became an honorary member of the fire department, nicknamed ’15A1,’ and even having Essex fire engine two dedicated to her.

Essex Fire Engine 2, ‘Addi’s Engine’

“Among many other medical issues, Addi had severe blood disorders and bone marrow disorders. Countless times during her life she needed blood transfusions and platelets to bring her back and help her thrive, and to continue to inspire us and to have fun,” Carroll says.

Because of Addi’s need for blood, Essex Fire and the Red Cross started a community blood drive in her honor, and this past month’s blood drive was the first in her memory. Enough blood was donated to help over 250 people.

“Each year we’ve tried to increase it, we’ve asked for a larger crew from the Red Cross, and we’ve tried to put out more and more appointments and get bigger venues,” says Essex Fire Chief Charlie Cole.

The blood drive continues to grow every year, as Addi still inspires people with her story.