BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – Just about any kid would love to have a bouncy castle, carnival games, superheroes and snacks at their birthday party. The same goes for Henry Heckenberg.
And while he’s turning 4 years old, the celebration in Broomfield is not just for him. Henry and his family hold a blood drive party because donated blood helped save their son’s life.
“We’ve decided for every year around his birthday, we’re going to give back to the community and host a big blood drive in his honor,” Brittany Heckenberg, Henry’s mother, said.
Two years ago Henry was diagnosed with autoimmune hemolytic anemia. It’s a disorder that causes a person’s body to destroy red blood cells quicker than it’s able to produce them.
“Henry needed 19 blood transfusions to stay alive so we were in the hospital for 40 days,” Brittany remembered.
In addition to celebrating Henry, his parents use the celebration to help replenish the precious resource that saved their son’s life.
“Watching him every other day being dependent on blood was excruciating and we just don’t want to see that for any other family.”
Henry’s second annual blood drive was unfortunately timely. Vitalant supplied blood to the victims of the STEM shooting in Highlands Ranch and their reserves were tapped.
Henry’s parents say any time is a good time to donate blood because donated blood changed their lives.
“Without that my Mother’s Day would look a little bit different,” said Brittany.