A gift for Harper

Sara and Harper Albers are living proof that donating blood saves lives. Sara needed 17 donations after complications during Harper’s birth. (Submitted photo)

Sara and Harper Albers are living proof that donating blood saves lives. Sara needed 17 donations after complications during Harper’s birth. (Submitted photo)

Family celebrates life with annual residential blood drive

Modern medicine and cutting-edge technology have made death and complication during childbirth somewhat of a nonexistent ordeal. But it became a very frightening, life-threatening reality for Sara Albers and her family on Oct. 18, 2007.

Albers almost died due to complications of a C-section when delivering her daughter, Harper. She would have died if not for the 17 different blood donations that saved her life and refilled her body’s blood supply three times over.

The Lyons family created a poster to track donors and the lives that were saved during the Harper’s Blood Drive last year.

The Lyons family created a poster to track donors and the lives that were saved during the Harper’s Blood Drive last year.

“I didn’t fully realize what had happened until about a week after when I overheard a doctor talking in my room,” Albers said. “He thought I was asleep and he was talking about me and said ‘My God, she almost died.’ That’s when I understood the severity of the situation and felt grateful and lucky to be alive.”

Even after she realized what a close brush with death she had experienced, all Albers was concerned about was the health of her newborn baby and her family. Thankfully, all was well.

Because of the impact blood donation had on Albers’ life, for Harper’s first birthday she asked friends and family to donate blood instead of buying gifts for her daughter. What she didn’t expect was the incredibly selfless act of her sister-in-law, Westfield resident Jill Lyons.

Instead of just donating blood like Albers requested, Lyons went above and beyond by hosting her own residential blood drive to raise awareness for the importance of blood donation. Harper’s Blood Drive was born.

“It is a big backyard party with lots for the kids to do while parents donate, tons of catered food, raffles and a whole lot of saving lives,” Lyons said. “It is a great way to raise awareness for the importance of blood donation.”

Because blood drives at a residential property are a rare occurrence, the Indiana Blood Center was apprehensive at first. Yet the first year of Harper’s Blood Drive was a huge success. Last year, the drive yielded 104 units of blood and organizers are hoping for even more this year. Now in its sixth year, Lyons and the IBC work well together to coordinate a productive day for blood donation.

To help reach Lyons’ goal and because there is always a need for blood, the IBC is providing Harper’s Blood Drive with four blood mobiles this year. The blood drive has a goal of 217 donors, more than eight times the amount of a normal blood drive.

“Each donor that comes saves potentially three lives,” Lyons said.

What started with family, friends and two bloodmobiles has turned into an annual event for the Indiana Blood Center and Lyons family of Westfield. This year’s goal is 217 donors. (Submitted photos)

What started with family, friends and two bloodmobiles has turned into an annual event for the Indiana Blood Center and Lyons family of Westfield. This year’s goal is 217 donors. (Submitted photos)

If Harper’s Blood Drive reaches its goal, there is a possibility of this community drive saving 651 lives.

The IBC has a critical need for blood. Many hospitals have been experiencing blood shortages and are encouraging donors to donate as soon as they can to help replenish the quickly dwindling supplies.

“Indiana Blood Center needs to see 550 people each and every day to ensure patients at the more than 60 hospitals we supply have the blood and blood products they need,” IBC’s Corporate Communication Specialist Lucy Wehking stated.

With Indiana being in such a critical need for blood, Harper’s Blood Drive is hoping to reach their goal this year to aid the patients who are in desperate need.

Albers and Lyons highly encourage anyone in Westfield who is eligible to donate blood to attend the Harper’s Blood Drive from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 28 at 15229 Smithfield Dr., Westfield.

“It is such a selfless, amazing gift to give and people should feel honored that their blood is helping save other people’s lives,” Albers said. “If you have the ability to donate blood, you can save lives. Twenty minutes of being uncomfortable is saving a dying person’s life.”

For more information about the Harper’s Blood drive, e-mail harpersdrive@gmail.com.

 

Individuals who want to donate whole blood must be:

• At least 16 years old (donors under the age of 17 may donate but must have a signed parental/guardian consent form).

• Weigh at least 110 pounds.

• Pass a brief mini-physical and health history screening.

• Be healthy.

• Bring picture I.D.

You cannot donate if you are in a high risk group for exposure to the AIDS virus; had viral hepatitis after age 10; or have ever had syphilis, taken Tegison or injected illegal drugs. For more information about requirements and the blood donating process, visit www.indianablood.org.