Blood donations help 7-year-old with heart condition

DOWNER'S GROVE, Ill. (WLS) -- A seven-year-old boy from Downers Grove, Ill., is living life to fullest because someone gave him the gift of life through blood donation.

Augie was born with a congenital heart defect forcing him to have several surgeries with more scheduled for the future. His diagnosis came as a complete surprise when his mother was just 20 weeks pregnant.

"Shock, you know we have two, this is our third boy, our third son, we were just trying to debate if we were going to find out if it was a boy or girl and we found out that day that he had this heart defect," Joanna Matthies, Augie's mom, said.

At just nine-days-old, Augie had his first open heart surgery, a second at 18-months-old and then just last year another open heart surgery to have a valve placed in his heart.

"They make me fall asleep with oxygen out of a balloon and it feels weird and I fall asleep right away. When I wake up it feels like three seconds and when I wake up everything is different," Augie said.

"You would never know on a day-to-day basis that something this sever had gone on in his life. He will continue to have open heart surgeries in the future he'll have to have them so it's not a onetime repair," Augie's mother said.

The Matthies try to plan ahead for Augie's surgeries but sometimes that just isn't enough.

"We had friends and family go in and do a directed donation knowing his blood type is B positive. We could get people to do an exact match for his blood type that would be needed. Other times we didn't have enough blood so we had to go into what I believe they call their general blood bank to get more blood for him," Matthies said.

In spite of it all Augie is living life like any other kid--scoring big goals at his hockey games and making even bigger plans for the future.

Augie said he wants to play for the National Hockey League.

You can help others just like Augie by donating on Monday at the ABC 7 Great Chicago Blood Drive.

The drive will be held at a new location downtown at the Hyatt Regency and the second location is once again at the Drake Oak Brook Hotel.
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