Blood drive doubles as a celebration of life for mom and son

MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Joyce Foley didn't know what had happened to her until several days later: The mother of five boys had complications during the birth of her son, Asher.

Doctors had to race to save both their lives.

And, for Joyce, they needed blood -- a lot of it.

"I lost 26 units of blood," she said.

That's about three times the amount of blood we usually have in our bodies.

But the doctors at the Cleveland Clinic were able to save both Joyce, and her son, who was in intensive care for months after his birth.

Ever since those scary days in 2013, Joyce had held an annual blood drive with the Red Cross as a way of giving back.

"Without all the selfless giving of blood," she says, "I wouldn't be here to raise my boys."
Joyce herself can't give blood this year because she has just beaten back cancer.

A malignant tumor forced doctors to take part of one of her legs to prevent the spread of the disease.

"I wish I could be giving blood myself," she says, "but I sure want to raise awareness for it."

While Joyce needed a lot of blood, most patients don't need near that quantity.

In fact, one blood donor can save up to three lives.

Joyce's friend, Kristine Frankenberry, says she's happy to donate, as she waits her turn at Hillcrest Hospital.

"It might seem scary the first time," she says, "but, before you know it, it's over, and you've already saved lives."

Joyce tries to hold her blood drive each year on this date, September 29.

Today is Asher's fourth birthday.

And, for his family, there's a lot to celebrate.