It’s Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month, and the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) is once again encouraging those within the community, and beyond, to take part in its Red Tie Campaign. For this year’s edition, the campaign seeks to raise $20,000 throughout the month of March.
As always, NHF chapters and countless groups and individuals across the country are taking up the fundraising challenge in support of NHF’s many educational, research and advocacy initiatives. Just as important as the fundraising, however, is the “awareness” part of Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month. Everyone has a role to play in bringing greater attention to hemophilia, von Willebrand disease and other rare bleeding disorders. Kids make especially effective advocates, whether they have a bleeding disorder themselves or have a sibling or other relative who has one.
One great place to raise awareness is through activities at school. Talk with your child and her or his teachers about bringing some of the activities below to the classroom this month. (Note: To do these activities, children do not have to identify themselves as having a bleeding disorder and should not disclose more about their bleeding disorder than they’re comfortable with.) Be sure to clear any activities that involve fundraising with school administrators.
Red Tie Hallway Contest
See who can make the longest chain of paper red ties in support of people with bleeding disorders. To make the chains, print and cut out paper ties, color them red and tape them together. Younger grades can make chains that go around their classroom. Middle and high school students can join together and challenge each other to create chains in school hallways or around the auditorium or gymnasium. If you’re allowed, sell the paper red ties and donate the money raised. Create a custom certificate or prize for the team that builds the longest chain. Share pictures of your classmates in action on your social media using #RedTieCampaign.
This is great for younger schoolchildren. Print out paper ties, have kids decorate them, hang them up in the classroom and host an art auction where parents can purchase them.
Crazy Hat Day
Have students and teachers pay $1 (or $5 or any designated amount) to wear their favorite cap or hat to school for a day. An extension of this idea is to hold a hat contest and present awards for the most creative hat, the most colorful hat, etc., or have students decorate hats with a bleeding disorders or rare disease theme. Students could participate by class and select a first-place winner to represent their class. In a full assembly, first-place winners from each class could participate in a “hat show” to display their hats and compete schoolwide.
Students and teachers pay $1 (or $5 or any designated amount) to wear pajamas to school for a day. You can also extend Pajama Day into the evening by holding a family Pajama Night featuring a movie or storytelling, with snacks and baked goods for sale.
Ice Cream Social
Ask your teacher if you can hold an ice cream social fundraiser after school to raise money in support of Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month while also teaching your classmates how blood works by making blood parfaits. (They taste better than they sound.)
You’ll need to charge students to enter to make their blood parfait. (Make sure you are charging enough to cover the cost of your ingredients, with some money left over to donate.) Here’s how to make a blood parfait:
Vanilla ice cream/frozen yogurt
This is the base
These represent platelets
Red M&M’s/Red Hots
These are the red blood cells
White chocolate chips or mini marshmallows
These are the white blood cells
These represent fibrin (get the square kind with the grid)
These represent VWD
Top it all off with rainbow sprinkles
These represent the 13 factors
Make signs that explain each ingredient and how they all work together. Have some paper red ties on hand so you can take pictures and use the #RedTieCampaign hashtag to show your support.