ANDOVER, Minn. — Thirteen-year-old Zachary Elsenpeter, an Oakview Middle School student, is a typical teenage boy who loves skateboarding, riding his bike with friends and baseball. Unlike many his age, Zachary has had two kidney transplants and needed multiple blood transfusions to help save his life.
In December 2003, at just 2 weeks old, Zachary was diagnosed with kidney failure. Doctors informed his parents, Wade and Stacey, that he would require a kidney transplant to live. While waiting for a kidney match, Zachary required many surgeries and blood transfusions.
Zachary received a kidney transplant from his father at 11 months old, but by age 8 he was in kidney failure again. Although she was not a match, Zachary’s mother Stacey donated a kidney as part of a paired exchange program. As a result of this generous act, a kidney match was found, and Zachary underwent his second transplant from an anonymous donor.
“We are so grateful for the generosity of the hundreds of blood donors who helped save Zachary’s life, and we feel strongly about giving back to our community,” his mom said. “We want others to know that by giving blood they are making a difference. Blood products kept Zachary alive, and without them he wouldn’t be here with us today. You just don’t know when you or a family member are going to need blood. Zachary is living proof that blood donations help save lives!”
Donate blood in honor of Zachary Elsenpeter
Be a Hero Become a Donor Foundation Registry
Friday, June 2
YMCA Community Center
15200 Hanson Blvd. NW
To make an appointment to donate, simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and enter sponsor code Save Zachary.
Blood donations often decline during summer months when regular donors are vacationing and schools are out of session. Blood donors of all types are needed to help ensure blood products are available for patients now and into the summer for patients like Zachary.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.
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 cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.