ANTIOCH -- The family of Matthew Ouimet, the 2-year-old Antioch boy who in June received a life-sustaining kidney and liver transplant, is sponsoring a Red Cross blood drive on Saturday. It will be the third such event the Ouimets have sponsored in the past seven months, and this time they have help.
The family of Brandon Burnett, the 22-year-old Northern California deceased donor whose organs Matthew received, is co-sponsoring the 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. event at Prewett Family Park at the Antioch WaterPark, and will be among the donors.
The Ouimets are hoping more than 191 pints will be donated. That would break the one-day record for the American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region, according to ARC spokesman Jared Schultzman. The previous two Team Matthew Blood Drives, in July and September, netted 122 pints and 74 pints respectively.
The event will be held three days before Matthew's third birthday, and one week after Brandon would have turned 23. Representatives from the California Transplant Donor Network will be on hand to raise awareness for organ donation.
The timing of the blood drive is fortuitous. Extreme winter weather has created a nationwide blood shortage at the Red Cross, Schultzman said. Since the beginning of January, winter storms have forced cancellation of more than 600 drives, resulting in nearly 20,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations.
Locally, the spread of the flu in the Bay Area has prevented many regular donors from contributing blood and platelets, Schultzman added.
Those wishing to donate at Saturday's event can register at www.redcrossblood.org by using sponsor code matthewouimet.
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.