'A Pint for Kim': Blood drive in honor of Naperville woman who died of cancer kicks off in Chicago
CHICAGO - Across the street from Wrigley Field, the focus Thursday moved away from baseball for a little while and turned to life-saving blood donations.
"Being a former athlete, I've been pricked by plenty of needles, so it doesn't bother me in the slightest," said Ryan Sweeney, studio analyst for Marquee Sports Network and former Cubs Player, as he rolled up his sleeve to donate.
It was Sweeney's second year at a mobile blood drive for people with the Cubs organization and Marquee Sports Network. It's part of a growing movement called "A Pint for Kim."
"In the beginning, she didn't even want her name associated with it, but we didn't stand for that," said Rob Sandford.
Sandford is amazed how much they’ve accomplished in his late wife’s name. Kimberley Benedyk Sandford died in 2020, losing a long battle with a rare cancer. She credited her many blood transfusions for extra quality time with her family and helped them create the effort to raise donations and awareness.
"We realized very quickly just how important blood donations are to cancer patients, let alone trauma victims and anyone else who needs transfusions," said Sandford.
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Thursday's event by Wrigley was a warm-up of sorts for a huge blood drive happening Saturday.
"We have the car show, but it’s doubled in size. We have free plane rides. We have live bands all day. We have seven food and beer trucks and an inflatable play area. It's basically a one-day festival," explained Krysten Benedyk, Kim’s Sister and one of the driving forces behind "A Pint for Kim."
Beyond the family fun on Saturday, the main purpose is pints as they turn the J.A. Air Center at Aurora Municipal airport into a giant blood drive. They hope to break their record for the most donations in a single day at a single site.
It's quite a legacy that Kim's two teenage boys are seeing grow, as they grow up without her.
"I think it’s pretty cool. I think it's something that means a lot to our family. I think she would be like, proud of us," said 15-year-old Ricky Sandford, Kim's oldest son.
The family is focusing on how each pint for Kim could save three other lives.
More information can be found at apintforkim.com.