WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. (Sept. 10, 2019) — The community is invited to give blood in honor of Heath Cornford at a special American Red Cross blood drive Friday, Sept. 27 from 1 to 5 p.m. at St. Cecilia Parish, 603 Oak St., in Wisconsin Dells.
The cardiac intensive care unit, also known as CICU, is no place to raise a child, but families like the Cornford’s never got a choice not too. In February 2018, Heath was born with coronary ostial stenosis, an abnormal narrowing in the blood vessels of the heart. His first 217 days of life were spent in two hospitals.
During this time, Heath underwent many complex surgeries requiring a significant amount of blood products. He received extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a treatment that uses a pump to circulate blood and provides heart-lung bypass support outside of the body; he also received a left ventricular assist device, which helps the left ventricle pump blood to the rest of the body. A berlin heart, also known as an artificial heart pump, was introduced as treatment to extract blood from the left ventricle and send it to the aorta, thereby taking away extra work from the native heart. In July 2018, he then received a heart transplant.
“We are so thankful to the people who donated blood so Heath could survive and we can’t wait to give back,” said Mylinda Cornford, Heath’s mother. “No matter what your life situation is right now, you never know when or how quickly that can change. You or someone you love may be the person needing blood. I can't tell you how thankful we are for the lifesaving donations that saved our son. Blood is something you can donate for free. You can make an impact, save a life and give back to your community.”
This story has a happy ending. Heath is now 19 months old, an energetic toddler who is recovered and thriving. To celebrate his homecoming the family says it’s time to pay it forward to the current families in the CICU and is hosting this blood drive.
“There are so many reasons why someone may need blood that we don’t even realize,” said Nicole Rundahl, donor recruitment account manager for the Red Cross. “We take for granted that blood will be at the hospital when we need it, but it can only come from generous volunteer donors. Giving blood in Heath’s name is a wonderful way to honor this sweet boy and potentially help others with his condition.”
Every two seconds in the United States blood is needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,500 hospitals nationwide.
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 and platelet donors can 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, from a computer or mobile device. 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.