HINSDALE, Ill. (WLS) --ABC7 and the American Red Cross are working together to help re-stock our area's blood supply - it often runs short during the harsh winter months.
A Hinsdale mother is encouraging you to donate blood that could possibly help save her toddler's life.
It's scary for any parent who learns their child has a serious illness and requires surgery. But the availability of blood making a difference in the surgery's success takes concern to new level. Jennifer Weil knows that firsthand.
It was a rocky start for baby Alexandra Weil. She was born with multiple heart defects.
At just 10-days-old, Alex had her first open heart surgery.
"She came home. We had a good couple months with her. Then she had another open heart surgery when she was 4-and-a-half months old," Weil said.
Big sister Kate remembers trying to help.
"I got to visit her sometimes and I got to come in and once I got to paint on the windows to make her happy," Kate said.
With each surgery, doctors warned that Alex would need blood - and lots of it. Her dad is blood type O and was able to donate for his daughter. But the infant would need more blood than he alone could supply.
"It's scary to think that you have to rely on the kindness of other people in order for your infant baby to have a really good shot at surviving her surgery," Jennifer said.
Alex is now 3-years-old. Mom is using photos to help prepare the toddler for her third open heart surgery coming up in just a few months.
Weil hopes this surgery will be her baby's last. Once again, she is relying on the generosity of strangers to help her daughter pull through.
"We are thankful every day that people who don't know us and don't know our child are willing to make that sacrifice and give us something that will ultimately lead to the health of our child," Jennifer said.
ABC7 is teaming up with the American Red Cross for the ABC7 Great Chicago Blood Drive. On Jan. 20, you can join Hosea Sanders at the Drake Oak Brook Hotel or meteorologist Cheryl Scott at Union Station to donate blood.
Click here to make an appointment. Donating blood only takes about an hour and it could save someone's life.