Airplane rides, a car show, inflatables, and food trucks were all part of the third annual A Pint for Kim blood drive. The event was held at the J.A. Air Center at the Aurora Airport in Sugar Grove for the second year in a row.
It’s an endeavor of love put on by family and friends of Kim Sandford, a Naperville resident who died in March of 2020 after an eight-year battle with a rare cancer. Kim received more than 40 blood transfusions over the course of her treatment. The timing of the event is purposeful.
“Mother’s Day weekend is a difficult weekend for my family. My sister’s boys were 11 and 13 when she passed away. So we’ve made this drive specifically the day before Mother’s Day so that we could create an event where instead of dreading that weekend, we look forward to it. We know that they’re going to see how many people are out saving lives in memory of their mom, and really just have a celebration of the impact that she’s made,” said Kristyn Benedyk, Sandford’s sister.
This year’s event brought in donors by the hundreds, with around 400 pints collected. Organizers had hoped to continue their trend of setting a state record for the most pints of blood collected in a single day; something they did in 2020 with 500 pints and then topped in 2021.
“In terms of pints, we collected enough to save well over a thousand lives. So that is exciting. We didn’t collect as many as we did last year, so we were a little bit disappointed. I mean, at first I was pretty bummed, but then I had to remember, we still saved over a thousand lives, so that’s worth celebrating in and of itself,” said Benedyk.
Redefining Blood Drives
Their annual drives aren’t their only efforts. Kim’s family organizes extra drives at different times of the year, to help give an extra boost to the blood supply. But their yearly Mother’s Day event is by far the biggest, putting a fresh face on the notion of “blood drives.”
“We’re trying to change what our blood drive looks like. I think when people think about donating blood, it can be sort of like a scary thing or a somber thing, but really, it should be celebrated. I mean, you can go in and in less than an hour, you’ve done something that can save up to three lives,” said Benedyk.
It’s a method that seems to be working.
“One mom who said she had never donated before, but she came out because she has two elementary school kids and they played in the inflatables and they listened to the music and she donated. So that’s somebody who wouldn’t have just walked into a blood center, but they came out to do this event as a family and then they wind up donating blood in the process,” said Benedyk
It’s a small effort that Benedyk says has a huge payoff.
“For less than an hour of your time, you can save up to three lives,” said Benedyk
Naperville News 17’s Tim Jacobi reports
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