Crystal Lake mother and son saved by blood donations

CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. (WLS) -- A Crystal Lake woman says she's grateful for blood donations which not only saved her life, but also her son's.

Cathy Cagle hopes sharing her story can save more lives.

RELATED: Orland Park cancer survivor becomes blood donation advocate after devastating diagnosis

When Cagle's second son Mitchell was born, she was told he would have little to no chance of survival.

"When he was born, NICU was standing by just to make sure everything was OK and it wasn't," Cagle said.

Cagle said her son was unresponsive.

"He was blue, he was not breathing. I got to give him a little kiss on his head and he was whisked away. The doctor came in a few hours later and said, 'I'm sorry to tell you but your baby is extremely sick and we think he's going to die tonight,'" she said.

To give him any chance at life, her son was put on a heart-lung bypass machine for 11 days. Every drop of blood in his body was replaced. It took 30 units of blood to save his life, but it wasn't over.

Cagle soon after experienced severe hemorrhaging from giving birth.

"I needed emergency D&C and I needed transfusions," Cagle said. "So I actually came home on my birthday because I was alive and my baby was alive and we were both home and there could be no better birthday present ever."

It was the gift of life, something she said she'll never take for granted.

"People need to know it saved my life and it saved my son's life," Cagle said.

Today, Cathy and Mitchell are thriving and doing well, but there's a critical need for blood donations. Supplies have dropped over the holidays.

The ABC 7 Great Chicago Blood Drive is just one week away. The January 15 event has expanded to four locations, including the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, the Drake Hotel in Oak Brook, the Sullivan Community Center in Vernon Hills and the Performing Arts Center in Munster, Indiana.

Make an appointment now by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or registering online by clicking here.
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