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Family Gives Blood and Thanks

November 28, 2018 09:08 AM

(ABC 6 News) -- A Rochester girl's birthday has become a tradition, bringing family and friends to Mayo Clinic.

Shea Novotny just turned 5-years-old.

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“She’s a pretty happy, healthy kid right now,” said her mom, Kerry Novotny.

But that wasn’t always the case.

“Shea got sick when she was younger and we’re lucky enough that we live in Rochester so we had all of our support systems here and food and all of our homes – everything,” mom said.

They had everything except one very important thing – blood.

“It’s not something you can you know just go to the store and buy,” said mom.

Tuesday, with 23 friends, family, and coworkers, marked the 5th annual “Shea Day.”

“We try to give blood every year around her birthday,” said mom.”

This year, the goal was to gather 21 donors; a specific number, and as mom explains, with a specific purpose.

“Shea had 63 blood transfusions but as a kid, they take a bag of blood and they divide it into 3 and so we essentially had 21 bags worth of blood and so I was going for 21 just to put back what we took,” she said.

As the weather turns colder and people are out-of-town for the holidays, Dr. Justin Kreuter, Medical Director for Mayo Clinic’s Blood Donor Program, said it’s tough to get donors in the door.

“I think it’s easy to forget about the importance because it’s something that you assume somebody else is going to pick up the slack and do it,” he said.

But Kerry knows just one donation, a pint of blood can literally save a life.

“It has been very clear to me how important blood donating is. It’s not something I thought about a whole lot until we need it so it’s pretty easy to be a hero to somebody,” she said.

And Shea, whose proof of that, thinks donating blood is pretty important, too.

“It helps people to be healthy and still makes them, make them be alive,” she said.

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