By Michael Hartwell
FITCHBURG — The Red Cross will hold a blood drive targeting O-positive blood in honor of a local woman on Oct. 16.
Kelley Heinle, 37, is a pediatric registered nurse living in Shirley and a 1993 Fitchburg High School graduate. She has a 5-year-old son.
She has been hospitalized since July 26 from complications of a colon inflammation that lead to pneumonia, lung failure and eventually internal bleeding.
“She’s a fighter and she’s got a very strong will,” said sister Dawn Heinle, who is speaking for the family. She said her sister went through 30 units of blood, about a pint each, in two and a half days.
Kelley Heinle is out of a medically induced coma and is expected to leave the hospital soon. She no longer needs transfusions, but her ordeal has depleted the local supply of O-positive blood.
People with O-positive blood can receive blood donations from other O-positives, as well as O-negatives. O-negative blood can be given to any patient and is in higher demand.
The blood drive will accept donations from all blood types, but is targeting O-positive to replenish local supplies.
“It’s very important to our family members that people give,” said Dawn Heinle. She said in addition to saving her sister’s life, blood donations and a bone-marrow transplant saved the life of her daughter, Lindsey Kimball, 17, who has had cancer twice.
The blood drive will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16, at the fire station on North Street.