Printable Version

Family of Double Organ Recipient Sponsoring Blood Drive

Northern California Blood Services Region

July 10, 2013
 

Matthew Ouimet’s two-year battle with a devastating medical condition has inspired his family to do what it can to help support others who are fighting for their lives in local hospitals.

Matthew was born with primary hyperoxaluria type 1, a condition that prevents the liver from removing harmful oxalates in the body. Those oxalates accumulate in other organs – destroying them. Kidneys are the first organs to be affected; and Matthew suffered end-stage renal failure when he was just 5 months old.

Nearly two years of dialysis treatments – six days a week – would follow before Matthew received a double organ transplant (kidney and liver) on June 4. Since then, he has endured an invasive follow-up surgery and the daily pain and discomfort associated with his medical care, but doctors have assured his parents that Matthew is now on the road to recovery.

“Unfortunately that road has had several bumps and setbacks, but we know our little boy is a fighter,” Matthew’s mother, Kristi, said. “He is strong and determined and doesn't know how to quit.”

Over the course of his medical treatment, Matthew was transfused with more than 18 units of blood – the equivalent of more than a gallon. His family received multiple inquiries about donating blood on Matthew’s behalf and that motivated his mother to set up a blood drive with the Red Cross in honor of her son. 

“This is a chance for people to make a difference,” Kristi said. “We want people to realize their potential for making a difference.”

Based on the outpouring of support they have received from family, friends and the general public, the Ouimets are expecting a big turnout. And so is the Red Cross, which has decided to allocate all of its resources in the East Bay to the one blood drive.

“Bay Area residents have been inspired by Matthew’s story and feel compelled to do what they can to help those in need,” said Jared Schultzman, communications manager for the American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region. “Contributing to the community blood supply is an ideal way to support local patients. Regional hospitals are filled with patients like Matthew who need blood transfusions to live.”

The Team Matthew Blood Drive will be held at St. Ignatius Church of Antioch on July 11 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. In addition to donating blood, people can register to become organ donors through the California Transplant Donor Network or sign up for the bone marrow registry.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission), meet height and weight requirements (at least 110 pounds based on height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


Who: Ouimet family and the American Red Cross

What: Team Matthew Blood Drive

When: Thursday, July 11 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: St. Ignatius of Antioch Church (3351 Contra Loma Boulevard, Antioch)

How: To make an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: MATTHEWOUIMET.