Arizona's largest blood drive hits home for one Valley resident

TEMPE, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- Arizona's largest blood drive took place Sunday, and even though this week is the slowest time in the summer for blood donations, the need is still high. One non-profit employee shares a special story on why it's important to donate blood.

As an 18-year-old employee of Vitalant, Katrina Eaton has convinced more than 200,000 people to donate blood, but little did she know that some of those donors would help save her daughter's life.

"My job is to recruit people to donate blood so ironically my daughter ends up needing it and I never thought in a million years it'd be our family," said Katrina Eaton, a Senior Donor Recruitment Representative for Vitalant.

Katrina says her daughter, Presley Jordan, lovingly known as "PJ" was born with no signs of health issues.

"She came home from the hospital happy healthy amazing little girl and when she turned 3-months-old she had her first cold," said Katrina.

That cold turned into pneumonia, which led to a collapsed lung and respiratory failure. Katrina says PJ has now had seven operations, the most recent being in April.

While PJ is still at Phoenix Children's Hospital recovering, Katrina learned that five local blood donors were to thank for giving her daughter a second chance at life, and she's forever grateful.

"That means somebody I could have talked to about giving blood could have been her donor," says Katrina.

That's why people like Pamela Innis, mother of a veteran and a blood donor for more than 20 years, says she continues to come back because of the enormous life-saving impact.

"There's so little we can do to really support the community and the people in the community even people we don't know and by donating blood I'm saving a life making a difference in somebody's life," said Pamela Innis.

There are six Vitalent centers always open for donations. Click here for more information.