ROCHESTER, Minn. - The Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program is having a 'Pints for Preemies' blood donation challenge, a push for people to donate blood for Mayo's smallest and youngest patients.
Eleanor MacIntyre is the face of the challenge. Her mother Jennifer had her more than 3 months early and she weighed just 1 pound and 15 ounces. She needed blood drawn frequently, so she also required 6 blood transfusions to heal. While she still faces some challenges, Eleanor is now a spunky, smiling almost 2-year-old.
"I think that's what people tend to see the most is her beautiful smile and her dimples and her eyes and I just don't know, I can't imagine life without her," says Jennifer.
Premature babies are often recipients of blood transfusions, explains Mayo's Blood Donor Program's medical director Dr. Justin Kreuter. "Because they need a little extra help as they get started in like as they're premature, and others there's a medical condition that causes the, to need transfusions... if somebody doesn't come and donate, we don't have blood products on the shelf, we don't have them when these babies need them," he says.
The challenge ends November 17th, which is World Prematurity Day and also happens to be Eleanor's birthday. "It's obviously a huge celebration and milestone to see how far she's come but there's bittersweet memories too of some of the things that we've been through, but it's so wonderful, especially when we bring it to an event like this to help the community share in our excitement and pride of how far she's come," adds Jennifer.
To donate to the challenge, check in at the Blood Donor Center in the Mayo Clinic Hilton Building with the team name 'Pints for Preemies' to have your donation count towards the challenge.