DAYTON, Ind. (WLFI) – Kennedy Alkire was born with a heart defect that has required four surgeries since birth, and although her most recent surgery was considered routine, complications required the nine-year-old to receive 100 units of blood.
Her father, Shawn Alkire, said the family decided they wanted to give back by holding a blood drive in their hometown of Dayton.
“We wanted to help the blood bank, and help replenish their supply,” said Alkire. “They did such a great job supplying blood for Kennedy.”
The Indiana Blood Center put on Saturday’s event, and the family said they were just hoping for a donation of at least 100 units.
However, the blood drive turned into an outpour of support from their community.
“From there it just blossomed to other people hopping on saying, ‘Hey, we want to do this, we want to do that,’” said Alkire.
During the blood drive, community members held a cook out with free will donations to help the family with medical expenses. Vendors also set up at the event, and a cruise-in also took place.
Kennedy’s mother Brenda Alkire said she is amazed by the community support and shows this importance of donating blood.
“Right now our main goal is the blood donation,” said Alkire. “We would love to give back and show how vital it is.”
One of Kennedy’s former teachers Kristin Hougland said she knows how vital blood donations are. She drove more than two and a half hours to be there, and waited over an hour to donate.
“It’s just wonderful to know that one little girl has made an impact on so many people,” said Hougland.
By noon Saturday, donors were waiting more than two hours to give to the cause, and the Indiana Blood Center was ready no matter how many showed up to donate.
“If they have to they’ll go back to the office and pick up more material to be able to donate,” said Shawn Alkire. “They’re not going to turn anyone away.”
Although there wasn’t a need for extra materials for donors, the Alkire’s exceeded their goal.
A total of 110 units of blood were donated during Saturday’s blood drive.