By Laura Phillips
LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4)– Most 16-year-olds can’t wait to drive. Sam Belmonte couldn’t wait to give blood. That’s because Sam’s mother, Kristin, has had two life-saving blood transfusions. During her second pregnancy, she had an amniotic fluid embolism.
“It’s very rare and it has an 80 percent mortality rate for the mother,” said Kristin. “So, the fact that I survived is pretty incredible.”
The day before she was due, Kristin started hemorrhaging.
“It was the point where the surgeon in the ER gave my husband my wedding ring and said ‘She’s probably not going to make it’ and you should prepare for the worst,” Kristin said.
Doctors gave Kristin 26 units of blood and saved her life. The same thing happened with her fourth pregnancy and she needed 16 units of blood.
“I’m living proof that donating blood saves lives,” said Kristin. “There’s no substitute for blood. There’s no generic brand, no synthetic version. It has to come from humans and there’s a constant need for it.”
The Belmonte family hosted blood annual drives in their home for eight years. Sam grew up around blood donation and he told his mother that when he turned 16, all he really wanted was to give blood.
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“It’s kind of a cool feeling to know, as a parent, that you’ve made an impact on your kid in a way that maybe you didn’t know that you were making,” Kristin said.
So on Thursday, which was also World Blood Donor Day, Sam and his mom visited the Bonfils Blood Center’s Southwest Littleton Community Donor Center and Sam made his first blood donation.
“My mom was a blood recipient when I was younger and I just wanted to do it ever since i turned 16,” Sam said.
Sam also helped organize the spring blood drive at his school, D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School.
LINK: Bonfils Blood Center
Laura Phillips produces CBS4 News at 10 and various special projects. She has been producing news in Denver since 2006. Follow her on Twitter @LA_Phillips.