'Even in death she is making a tremendous impact': Naperville woman whose cancer battle inspired A Pint for Kim dies

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- A Naperville woman whose battle with a rare form of cancer inspired #APintForKim has died.

Relatives of Kim Sandford, who had organized the first annual #APintForKim blood drive, said the March 8 event will now also serve as a wake.

Sandford, a mother of two, died on Tuesday, her family said.

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Kim is no longer receiving cancer treatment; the focus for her is now on comfort care. The hope is that A Pint for Kim becomes an annual blood drive to help others.



She had battled a rare form of cancer for several years, and her case was considered one in 10 million.

Sandford was initially diagnosed with appendix cancer, which went into remission and then returned and spread to her bones. She was also treated for thyroid cancer.

After extensive treatments, Sandford's doctors exhausted their options. She spent nearly all of January in the hospital, and received nearly 40 blood and plasma transfusions.

Sandford's cancer battle inspired her family to start the hashtag #APintForKim to raise awareness that a third of the blood collected across the country goes to cancer patients.

Her sister, Kristyn Benedyk, said Sandford didn't want a wake or a funeral, so the blood drive will be held in lieu of such memorials.

"Even in death, she rather find a way to give back than to have any attention on herself," Benedyk said.

The first annual #APintForKim blood drive is being held at Iron Gate Motor Condos in Naperville Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Benedyk said they're posting 50 donation spots at a time every day and they've been filling up within hours. Walk-ins will be welcome on Sunday, but signing up in advance means donors won't have to wait.

To sign up, visit the mobile drive schedule online.

"We are sad, but comforted to know that even in death she is making a tremendous impact," Benedyk said.
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