Girl organizing blood drives to help mom | News
COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) - One pint of blood can save a life that simple donation saved a West Michigan woman and inspired her daughter to pay it forward by organizing her own blood drives.
What were you doing when you were in fifth grade? Looking for that lost item in your locker? Maybe getting your class picture taken? You probably weren't thinking about organizing a blood drive.
But Shelby Lynn Meintsma, 10, is doing more than just thinking about it. She's organizing blood drives to help her mom.
"When my mom went into the hospital she needed blood and we waited and waited," says Shelby.
Because not just any blood would do. Shelby's mother Catherine was relying on someone to donate a very specific blood type with very specific antibodies. There was no guarantee that a donor would come through.
"I was nervous at some points," Shelby recalls.
Shelby's mother has a rare disease called Evan's Syndrome.
"This disease has cells that destroy the blood cells so some times I've gotten a blood transfusion and immediately had to have another one because I literally tore through the blood that was given to me," says Catherine.
Shelby was inspired by that long night of waiting. "I asked my mom, 'How do you get blood?'"
And out of that simple question came an idea to put together her own blood drive. "Because I don't want anyone else to be in the situation that I have been in," says Shelby.
Shelby partnered with Michigan Blood, put posters up around town, and waited for her first donation. She never expected to have so many people willing to donate.
"I beat the record for Coopersville for most blood donations," she says.
Shelby's mother will need blood transfusions for the rest of her life. Her weekly trips for a blood test let her know when it's time. In the last year she's had eight transfusions, equaling 64 pints of blood.
"I used a lot of blood products in the last year and I think Shelby Lynn's goal was always to pay it back tenfold," says Catherine.
And she's certainly on her way. Shelby's in the process of organizing her fifth blood drive.
"It's good to know that there is lots of blood for people and it feels good inside to know that they got it," Shelby says.
And it's good to know there are so many people willing to help a little girl keep her mother's blood in stock by donating just one more pint of blood.
If you'd like to help out Shelby, her next blood drive is scheduled for Saturday, March 26th from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Coopersville Community Expo.