MANKATO, Minn. — Get ready to rock someone’s world by donating blood with the American Red Cross, Alpha Media (KEEZ-FM, KYSM-FM, KRBI-FM, KMKO-FM) and Culver’s when the annual Rock ‘N Roll Up Your Sleeve Blood Drive returns to Mankato Sept. 6-9.
Donors can help rock the world of families like the Parkers of Mankato. In April 2015, Courtney and Ben Parker went to her 20-week ultrasound appointment and learned that they were going to have another boy. They were so excited that their 3-year-old son James was going be a big brother.
Their joy turned to fear and disbelief just 24 hours later when the doctor called to inform them that their unborn son had a very serious heart condition and would need a fetal echocardiogram done immediately. The echo test confirmed that the Parkers’ son had hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare congenital heart defect in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped.
“To say we were devastated would be an understatement,” said Courtney Parker. “The rollercoaster of emotions that day was unbelievable. We knew our precious baby boy would have to endure many things we never dreamed he would have to go through.”
Elijah Ian Parker was born Aug. 28, 2015, and his heart was missing two of four chambers.
Since his birth, he has overcome tremendous trials. Elijah has needed two open heart surgeries, seven heart catheterizations and several other medical procedures which required many blood transfusions. He spent the majority of his first year of life in and out of the hospital.
“He’s a fighter – our little, mended warrior,” said his mother. “There were a few times we didn’t think we’d get the opportunity to celebrate his first birthday. There are not enough words to express how grateful we are to all the blood donors who take the time to help give families more time with their loved ones! Elijah is living proof that blood donors do help save lives!”
Elijah’s doctors have begun optimizing his medications due to a recent severe decrease in heart function. If there is no improvement, and his condition does not worsen, Elijah will be listed for a heart transplant or may need another open heart surgery.
“Elijah will continue to need lifesaving blood products throughout his treatments and surgeries,” said his mother. “We want to pay it forward and help make sure it is available when it is needed for patients like our son.”
While helping pump up the blood supply, all those who come to donate at the Rock ‘N Roll Up Your Sleeve Blood Drive will receive a coupon for a free pint of Culver’s frozen custard, while supplies last.
2016 Rock N’ Roll Up Your Sleeve Blood Drive
Tuesday, Sept. 6, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Culver’s, 1856 Madison Ave.
Wednesday, Sept. 7, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Culver’s 1856 Madison Ave.
Wednesday, Sept. 7, from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. at American Red Cross, 105 Homestead Ave.
Thursday, Sept. 8, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Culver’s, 1680 Commerce Drive
Thursday, Sept. 8, from, 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at American Red Cross, 105 Homestead Ave.
Friday, Sept. 9, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at American Red Cross, 105 Homestead Ave.
Schedule an appointment to give blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To help reduce wait times, donors are encouraged to make appointments and complete the RapidPass online health history questionnaire at redcrossblood.org/rapidpass.
Donors of all blood types are urgently needed to give now to help ensure blood is available for patients in need. Those who donated blood earlier this summer may be eligible to donate again. Blood can be safely donated every 56 days, and double red cells can be donated every 112 days.
Since 2006, volunteer blood donors have helped make this annual event a great success. In the past 10 years, more than 2,000 pints of blood were collected during the Rock ‘N Roll Up Your Sleeve Blood Drive, having an impact on thousands of patients.
How to donate blood
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 (16 with parental consent in Minnesota), 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.
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.