American Red Cross awards James Breakell as ‘2022 Blood Donor Hero’

James Breakell has a heart for helping cancer patients and others fighting life-threatening illnesses and injuries

It was his devout dedication to helping the American Red Cross save lives, one blood donation at a time, that landed James Breakell in the hero spotlight.

ROANOKE, Va, – It was his devout dedication to helping the American Red Cross save lives, one blood donation at a time, that landed James Breakell in the hero spotlight.

Since the start of the pandemic, the American Red Cross has faced a national blood crisis with a 10% decline in the number of people donating blood.

While many people were at home, Breakell made it a point to donate blood and platelets when the Commonwealth needed it the most.

In 2020, Breakell donated 12 triple platelet donations but challenged himself to do more.

In 2021, he set a goal to double his donations, hoping to give 24 triplet donations by the end of the year, which is the most a person can donate safely in one year.

Breakell met that goal, donating every 7-10 days with each session taking two and a half to three hours.

According to the Red Cross, platelets are tiny cells in your blood that form clots and stop bleeding. They are most often used by cancer patients and others facing life-threatening illnesses and injuries which is what really motivated Breakell to help.

During his time donating his B+ blood, which made him a prime candidate for the ideal blood types needed, Breakell documented his sessions on social media while calling for his friends and family to join the cause.

“James has made a difference in the lives of so many people in Virginia and surrounding states with his gift of life,” said the American Red Cross. “Everyone should be thankful that James is such a dedicated blood donor because you never know if you or a loved one will need blood.”

As the American Red Cross Southwest Chapter prepares for its annual ‘Help Can’t Wait- A Celebration of Heroes’ ceremony, the organization awarded James Breakell as the 2022 Blood Donor Hero.


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Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.