Last year, Marietta Laneslao (far left in the picture) celebrated 20 years as a Philippine Red Cross volunteer. Along the way she has also recruited plenty of people starting with her own family: her husband, children, nieces, nephews… altogether she has organized new volunteers for 18 barangays or communities.

“As a volunteer, my favorite activity is blood donation and recruiting more volunteers into that,” she says.

During the past months with the measles outbreak, Marietta Laneslao has been busy organizing and coordinating roving vaccination teams in her home-town of Santa Rosa in Laguna province. Local knowledge is essential when teams go around looking for unvaccinated children, ready to give the shot on the spot, if the parents so wish.

“I am happy and proud to be part of the services that the Red Cross offers to communities. And I am also happy to constantly learn new skills,” says Marietta Laneslao, who had her right arm amputated in an operation. She recognizes that some volunteers have to stop because they need to find paid work.

“It is sad but of course very understandable. But I always say that they are welcome back later! Talking and working with other volunteers makes me smile and happy. The team’s volunteer spirit gives me the strength to go on even after 20 years.”