Near tragic birth story leads to annual fundraiser and blood drive

Birthday Blood DriveAmanda Fieldler and her son Zachary. Four years ago, Amanda Fiedler almost lost her life and the life of her baby after a high-risk pregnancy and delivery. Now she's working to give back to the hospital that saved them with a Birthday Blood Drive and fundraiser offering plenty of fun for the whole family Aug. 8 at Annapolis Towne Center.

Fiedler, of Arnold, delivered her third son, Zachary, through an emergency C-section at 33 weeks because the placenta was covering the opening of her cervix, known as placenta previa. Unresponsive and not breathing at birth, Zachary was rushed to Anne Arundel Medical Center's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Fiedler went into recovery, but started hemorrhaging and had to be taken for emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. She lost approximately 70 percent of her blood.

"If it weren't for blood donors," Fiedler says, "I would not be alive today to raise my three boys."

In total, she received 11 blood transfusions and four platelet transfusions. Fiedler assumed the donated blood came from the Red Cross, but was surprised to learn that most of it came from the community — Anne Arundel Medical Center's own Blood Donation Center.

The event had a profound effect on Fiedler and her family.

"I wanted a way to give back to the hospital that saved both my son and me, and I wanted to pay it forward to other families," she says. "AAMC transfuses thousands of pints of blood each year to people in our own community."

For Zachary's first birthday, the family partnered with Menchie's Frozen Yogurt in Annapolis Towne Centre for the First Annual Birthday Blood Drive & Tiny Miracles NICU Fundraiser. It was a small event with a jar for monetary donations. Since then, Fiedler has organized a number of community events and has held the blood drive on Zachary's birthday every year to raise money and encourage blood donations for AAMC.

Birthday Blood Drive and Fundraiser Aug. 8

As Zachary approaches his fourth birthday, Fiedler's events have raised over $6,000 and 135 pints of blood. The fourth annual event will be Saturday, Aug. 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Annapolis Towne Center. It is free, but Fiedler encourages anyone who can to donate.

"This is a great family fun event, but our purpose ... is to educate people in the community about the need for blood donation, and to support the only Level IIIB NICU in our area," she says.

Menchie's will give free frozen yogurt to all blood donors and donate a portion of sales to the cause. National Geographic's Brady Barr will be on hand with some exotic animals from EcoAdventures, and there will be musical performances, balloon art, a raffle, face painting and a magic show. Families are encouraged to bring a picnic and join the fun.

For details, visit the Annual Birthday Blood Drive Facebook page at facebook.com/AnnualBirthdayBloodDriveTinyMiraclesNicuFundraiser.

By Anna Tayman

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