A Pint for Kim blood drive at Naperville North sets state record

Donate Today Buy This Video

More than 600 people came out to Naperville North High School on Saturday to donate blood for the fourth annual “A Pint for Kim” blood drive. An event known for breaking records, this year was no exception, as the turnout made it the largest single-day, single-location blood drive in Illinois.

Blood drive honors memory of Naperville mom

The drive got its start as a tribute to Naperville mom Kimberley Benedyk Sandford, who died in March of 2020 from a rare cancer. Having gone through dozens of blood and plasma treatments, she preferred that family and friends hold a blood drive in her honor, instead of a wake.

“So in her final month or so, when she realized that she wouldn’t be with us any longer, she was like, You know what? We need to take what I just went through for the last eight years and turn it into something good. And instead of being angry or bitter, she was like, ‘What can we do?’” said Kim’s sister, Kristyn Benedyk.

Family-friendly fun included

But the event isn’t just your typical blood drive. Kim’s family made it next-level, into a full family-friendly event.

“We have food trucks, we have bands, we’ve got the BASE bus which is featured on Disney+’s new show, Rennervations, and the Hamilton Connection Car Show. We’re really trying to do is shift blood drives from being this, like, serious, somber thing to a celebration. Like, we have saved thousands of lives today. And so if there’s any reason to celebrate, that should be one,” Benedyk said.

A Pint for Kim move to Naperville North holds special meaning

The Mother’s Day weekend event had been held at the Aurora Airport in the past, but this year moved to Naperville North – a shift that had special meaning, as Kim’s two sons currently attend the high school.

“The school has been incredibly generous with giving us the entire school inside and out. There’re over 100 students who are too young to donate blood, but they signed up to volunteer,” Benedyk said.

Setting their sights on national record

With all the support they’ve seen, the family is hoping by the time Kim’s youngest is a senior, they’ll be able to break the national single-day, single-location blood drive record. But the impact they’ve made already is a source of pride, steeped in gratitude.

“It’s bittersweet because we lost a loved one and she was an amazing person to friends and family. So to do this in her honor is a big deal and then to have all the support, it just goes to show you the impact that she had on friends and family in the community and it’s pretty cool to see everyone rally around the cause,” said Kim’s husband Robert Sanford.

If you have a story idea, we want to hear from you!