MEDIC Regional Blood Center is holding two blood drives to help the families of three children hospitalized with E. coli. infections.
On Tuesday, Temple Baptist Church in Powell is holding a blood drive for 2-year-old William Zenker. William is the only E. coli patient still recovering at Children’s Hospital, suffering from complications caused by the infection. He has been in the hospital for more than a month.
The Zenker family took to Facebook last month asking for donations of breast milk. The family shared in their post that the breast milk would be used for his feeding tube.
The gymnasium at Temple Baptist Church was busy on Tuesday as people piled in to donate blood for little William.
“When I heard there was a need, I wanted to make sure that I helped out that way,” said fellow church member Charlene Prescott.
“I have grandsons who have been in the PICU and I kow how wonderful they are over there, but I can’t do anything to help him, but I can do this,” added church member Janee Helget.
There were those who donated blood, saying they’ve never met the Zenker family but have followed their story in the news.
“Really pulls at my heartstrings and gets me in the door to help as soon as possible,” said Erica Behning.
The Zenker family says seeing so many come to give this gift of life is incredible.
“Literally these people have given some of their lives to help William. We can’t express enough our gratitude,” said James Zenker.
The family is also thankful saying William is no longer needing dialysis, his blood numbers are getting better and he’s starting physical therapy.
“We’ve been trusting God for a miracle. Early on we were given a pretty dark prognosis and we didn’t know what would happen but were seeing our old William come back and smile and laugh,” said Zenker.
The blood drive will last until 7 p.m. Tuesday night at the church, which is located at 1700 Beaver Creek Road.
On Sunday, July 29, All Saints Catholic Church on Cedar Bluff Road is holding a blood drive for Anthony Schiding, 3, and his sister Genevieve, 1. That blood drive will last from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Donors can also give at any MEDIC Blood Bank for the next several months by mentioning which family they want to give to.
In total, more than 10 East Tennessee children were hospitalized in June from an E. coli outbreak caused by the consumption of raw milk.