Daughter’s Transfusion Leads to Family Advocating for Local Blood Donation

Following the birth of Jamie and Adam Swenka’s daughter Joselina, a Cox South nurse came into their room to take the infant’s vital signs. She wasn’t keeping her temperature level. Hospital staff quickly learned the baby was anemic.

“It was likely she was losing blood in utero,” Adam said.

The next few moments were hectic. The Swenkas were rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where it was determined a blood transfusion was necessary.

Adam, who was already a blood donor, asked if he could donate blood for his daughter’s use. “They said there wasn’t time.”

Joselina spent several days in the NICU. “She recovered really quickly. After the blood transfusion, she really turned a corner,” Adam said.

But while the family was going through Joselina’s treatment, it was pretty emotional. I remember at the time thinking, ‘Thank goodness someone took time out of their day to donate blood and it matched,’” Adam said. “It takes a lot of donations to keep our blood supply in our area at a point for people like my daughter to have access when they need it. I also thought about how crazy it is when your life is turned upside down, and you never think someone you know might need a blood transfusion, but then someone you love needs one. That made a lasting impression on us.”

Adam had organized a blood drive with CBCO in the past at a church, and he helped organize another one – this time in Joselina’s honor – in February 2020.

The Swenkas feel so strongly about the power of donating blood that they sponsored CBCO’s first-ever Bleed Greene Blood Drive in June 2020, with one donor winning a $1,000 Visa gift card provided by Adam’s business.

Another blood drive is scheduled to be sponsored by the Swenkas. CBCO’s Charity Challenge will be held February 22 – 26, 2021 at CBCO’s Thomson Donor Center in Springfield. Local non-profit organizations are invited to sign up for the competition, with blood donors “voting” for their favorite charities with their blood donations. The charity coming in at first place with receive $1,000 and the charity in second place will receive $500. In addition, there will be a random drawing of all donors’ names, with two $250 gift cards being awarded to two blood donors.

Jamie and Adam Swenka, along with their four children, are thankful for CBCO donors. “I know it’s never convenient,” Adam said. “Everyone knows they should donate blood. Everyone has hectic lives. I feel like those who do it, it’s their way of being a hero. If someone needs a blood transfusion or any aspect of blood donation, it’s really significant what they’re doing.”