Last year, organizers of the A Pint for Kim blood drive set the Illinois record for blood donations on a single day in a single location. This year, their event will be even bigger with more to offer.
The Creation of A Pint for Kim
Sadly, Kimberly Sandford died just days before the blood drive in her name. She battled two different types of cancer for eight years, quietly persevering through chemotherapy treatments and more than 40 blood transfusions. When her family learned that cancer patients use more donated blood in the U.S. than any other group, they were shocked and moved to act.
“We created A Pint for Kim while she was in the hospital getting blood transfusions and we realized how many transfusions she was getting and wanted to give back,” said Kim’s sister Kristyn Benedyk.
They organized a blood drive which collected almost 500 pints of blood. Those donations wound up being even more critical than they thought, as they came the day before COVID-19 forced a statewide lockdown, severely impacting the amount of blood donations collected.
This Year’s Drive
Having already outgrown its 2020 venue, this year’s A Pint for Kim blood drive will take place at the J.A. Air Center at the Aurora Municipal Airport in Sugar Grove, IL on May 8. Beds for donations will be set up for social distancing inside an airplane hangar with plenty of room outside for all sorts of activities.
“We’re going to have hopefully 8-10 food trucks out there and blood donors are going to get two food tickets to get food from the trucks,” said Benedyk. “We’re going to have live music playing at different times throughout the day. The space is just so enormous that it’s actually a chance to do something and get people together and save lives while still being socially distanced and safe.”
There will also be a raffle for donors, a car show featuring a Bugatti, McLarens, and Lamborghinis, and tours of private jets at the airport.
Donors can also sign up as part of a team, with the group that donates the most blood winning a pizza party from Little Pops NY Pizzeria.
Setting Sights Even Higher
Benedyk said reaching 500 pints of blood is the goal this year, but they’re hoping to build the event up to set the national record for single-day, single-location blood donations.
“For the fifth annual A Pint for Kim in 2024, our plan is to go after the national record,” she said. “We’re gearing up year after year but our fifth one in 2024 we’re going to try to take down that record.”
Benedyk said that’s currently held by the San Diego Chargers for their 1998 blood drive with 2,549 donations.
The A Pint for Kim Facebook page is very active in promoting other local blood drives and providing updates on what’s to come with their event. Those interested can sign up online to donate at the event with their partner Versiti Blood Center. Walk-up donations will also be allowed on buses that will be parked at the event.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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