Donating the gift of life

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While we look ahead to the New Year with hopes of healthier eating habits and loftier intellectual pursuits, it’s also important to give back to those in need and donate to the charities we’re passionate about. SunTrust Purpose Ambassador Meredith Forrester knows this well.

Even with two children and a full-time job, Meredith dedicates time to the American Red Cross —and with good reason. In 1999, Meredith was a victim of one of the largest shooting sprees in Georgia history: the attacks at two day trading firms in Atlanta. Meredith was only seven weeks into her first post-college job when the assailant shot her in the back; she was lucky to survive.

Immediately following the attack, Meredith needed 115 pints of blood to survive two emergency surgeries. To put that into perspective, the human body only holds 8-10 pints of blood. Blood donations to the American Red Cross saved Meredith’s life, and she will forever be grateful.

SunTrust: More than just her employer

After facing this tragedy, Meredith realized how important it was to her to work for a company where giving back is a primary objective. As a Senior Vice President and Senior Managing Director of SunTrust Audit Services, Meredith takes pride in her employer. SunTrust is currently one of the companies supporting the American Red Cross LifeBoard, which is a group of the Atlanta’s largest, most dedicated corporate supporters who hold multiple drives each year. 

“These committed companies collect about 13 percent of Atlanta’s blood supply, so it’s exciting to me that SunTrust supports it,” she says. Meredith also turned tragedy into triumph by eventually becoming SunTrust’s Corporate Champion on the Red Cross LifeBoard, as well as the chairman of the board. “I’m so proud when somebody asks me where I work. I’m proud to answer.”

Paying it forward  

Meredith hopes others realize the importance of giving back. She and her two young daughters, also known as “little Red Cross vampires,” plan to volunteer this year by assisting in blood drives and donating blood themselves. “If you’re fortunate enough to have anything to give, whether it’s your time or your money, I think it’s just so important. You can be a grumpy, stingy, unhappy person, or you can choose to be happy, to live a fulfilling life and to try to help others.”

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