“We are so thankful to have been given the time we had with our daughter, Sammy, and we want to be there to help other families be together—even if it’s just for a little longer. That’s why we are honored to host annual blood drives, to keep Sammy’s memory alive.” —Kathy Lind, Sammy’s mom
“Hosting a blood drive was the brain child of some of Sammy’s neighbors” Kathy Lind recalls. “As she was nearing the end of her initial treatments against the cancer, she wanted to inspire others to give back. She also wanted to say goodbye to all her friends who were headed off to college.”
That was the very first—very successful—blood drive to honor Sammy’s bravery and courage. It also would be her last.
Diagnosed at 17-years old, heading into her senior year of high school, Sammy lost her heroic battle against Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare childhood cancer that effects bone and soft tissue, just 14 months later. Throughout her aggressive and painful treatment, she endured intense chemotherapy, radiation, multiple MRIs and bone scans, and a stem cell transplant. She also received more than 150 blood products, including platelets and red blood cells.
“When Sammy needed blood it was there and it didn’t take long for us to truly appreciate the importance of giving blood,” Kathy said. “In fact it was Sammy who realized that when people give, others benefit—lots of other people, not just her. She wanted to help raise awareness of blood donation and was the driving force behind this unselfish act.”
Now Sammy’s family and friends carry on the tradition. Thanks to the passion and coordination of Sammy’s aunt, Wendy Armstrong, an annual blood drive brings the broader community together to help save and sustain lives. “Without the heroes who gave blood before, Sammy would not have had as many “good” days as she did,” Wendy said. “And by hosting our blood drive every year we have an opportunity to give back—to make a difference in someone else’s battle, however great or small that difference is.”
Volunteer blood drive coordinators help bring Memorial Blood Centers’ life-saving mission to cities, towns, and neighborhoods throughout Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. Find out how you can partner with us to help save the lives of infants, children, and adults through blood donation at Host a Drive.