One Naperville woman’s long battle with cancer has inspired hundreds to donate blood at the “A Pint for Kim” blood drive.
Kimberly Sandford’s Story
Kimberly Sandford passed away on March 3.
She was first diagnosed with a rare combination of two different types of cancer in 2012, which then went into remission.
In May 2018, her cancer returned and spread to her bones. The mother of two boys was at Edward hospital in January of this year for treatment and received around 40 blood and plasma transfusions.
Her family said Kim always wanted to help cancer patients like her, which sparked the #APintForKim movement.
“She had received so much blood from random strangers she didn’t know and she’s like ‘if they didn’t do that, I would not be here,’” said Robert Sandford, Kim’s husband. “So I think that moment, it all hit us that this blood is coming from somewhere and so we need to pay it back and pay it forward.”
Her family is now on a mission to get 100,000 blood donations by the end of 2020. And that can’t be done without the help of the community.
“It’s amazing to see everybody here supporting her mission and her dream of getting all this awareness out, the importance of blood donation and the line is constantly full of people walking in and wanting to be a part of this,” said Kim’s cousin, Caroline Hamilton.
Hundreds of Blood Donors
Versiti Blood Center staff was hard at work to accommodate the almost 500 donors who made their way out to the drive.
According to Versiti’s chief operating officer, Brian Bautista, this is the largest single day blood drive in Illinois.
“A Pint for Kim” has already inspired groups in six other states to start their own drive, and it will become an annual event here in Naperville.
“Starting next year, this annual one will be held the day before Mother’s Day,” said Kim’s sister, Kristyn Benedyk. “We hope that instead of a weekend that perhaps the boys would not be looking forward to, it can become an event where they come out every year and for the rest of their life see the huge impact that their mom made forever.”
The day also served as a way for the family to celebrate Kim’s life as she did not want a traditional wake or funeral.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.