Toddler Who Received Four In-Utero Blood Transfusions to be Honored at Arlington Heights Blood Drive

  • Two-year-old Grace Bertram will be honored at the March 1 Vitalant Blood Drive in Arlington Heights. The toddler required four blood transfusions in-utero during mom Melissa's pregnancy. Courtesy of Bertram family

    Two-year-old Grace Bertram will be honored at the March 1 Vitalant Blood Drive in Arlington Heights. The toddler required four blood transfusions in-utero during mom Melissa's pregnancy. Courtesy of Bertram family

 
Vitalant (formerly LifeSource)
Updated 2/25/2020 11:26 AM

Thousands of people who receive blood transfusions every day understand the importance of blood donation. But for 2-year-old Grace Bertram, it may be years until she fully comprehends just how important the selfless

act has affected her life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Amazingly, the Mt. Prospect toddler required four blood transfusions while in-utero during her mother Melissa's pregnancy. Thankfully, she was born free of any serious complications and today is a thriving little girl who loves to climb, read, laugh, and keep up with her three older brothers.

Grace was diagnosed with isoimmunization, a condition that happens when a pregnant woman's blood protein is incompatible with the baby's, causing her immune system to react and destroy the baby's blood cells.

On Sunday, March 1, the Bertram family and friends will participate in the St. James/Grace Bertram Blood Drive being held from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the school cafeteria at St. James Parish, 820 N. Arlington Heights Rd. in Arlington Heights.

"Grace received special monitoring including weekly scans of her brain during her nine months in-utero," explains mom Melissa. "Although she required four separate lifesaving emergency intrauterine blood transfusions before she was ever born, she survived, and we are forever grateful for the generous gift of life the caring blood donors gave our daughter."

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While walk-ins are welcome, appointments for the blood drive are recommended. For more information or to schedule a donation, call (877) 258.4825 or visit vitalant.org and search for Group Code AH25.

In preparation for their donation, donors are asked to eat well, stay hydrated and arrive with proper identification. The donation appointment takes about an hour (with the donation itself only around ten minutes) and is both safe and comfortable. Donors must be at least 17 years old (16 years of age with parental consent).

"It's stories like Grace's that remind us of the importance of blood donation," said Vitalant Regional Director Eva Quinley. "We thank the Bertram family and St. James Church for continuing to hold blood drives to save patients like Grace who needed blood products."

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