RICHMOND, IN - It was another outpouring of love and support at the Richmond CBC Donor Center's third annual Baby Tressel Day Memorial Blood Drive Saturday, Jan. 18. The turn-out of donors and supporters was a tribute to the dedication of Tressel's parents Scott and Emilie Meinardi of Richmond and their inspiring message of hope.
Tressel Meinardi was born premature and with a heart condition in 2010. He was seven months old when he underwent surgery at Cincinnati Children's Hospital where a tragic mistake during surgery led to his death.
The first "Baby Tressel Day" blood drive was held at the Richmond CBC branch on Feb. 15, 2012. Richmond Mayor Sally Hutton read a proclamation declaring the memorial drive part of a "Day of Caring" in Richmond, and a symbol of new hope for the Meinardi family. Emilie gave birth to daughter Scarlet in 2011 and she too was born with a heart condition. Her doctors at Cincinnati Children's are the same that cared for Tressel.
The third annual Baby Tressel Day Memorial Blood Drive featured free St. Jude Teddy Bears donated by Kay Jewelers for everyone who registered to donate and the Texas Roadhouse restaurant sponsored food and refreshments in the Donor Café. A total of 48 registered, including five first-time donors, resulting in 40 blood donations for 164% of the collection goal.
"Well, when Tressel had his surgery, he required some blood so after he had passed away, Scott donates blood," Emilie told the Richmond Palladium-Item newspaper, noting that she is unable to donate. "We know how life changing it can be because it kept him alive for a couple more days. So this is something that people can do that only requires maybe half an hour of their time, but it can save a life."
"What a wonderful celebration," said CBC Richmond Account Representative Melinda Frech. "The Meinardi's are such a sweet family. We had some wonderful gals giving heart 'tattoos.' Amanda from Texas Roudhouse was wonderful, and not only did donor Gloria Goens reach her milestone 50th lifetime blood donation at the blood drive, she won the door prize of dinner for two at Texas Roadhouse!"
The Meinardi's have family in Findlay, OH and Tressel was named for former Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel. Scarlet was named for the Buckeye's colors. She is now 2½ years and has not required surgery but has check-ups and physical therapy at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
Emilie said the hospital has named its annual safety training week after Tressel as a reminder of how one mistake can affect the lives of so many.