Health Check: 'Give a Pint, Get a Pound' campaign
Two years ago, NBC 10's Barbara Morse Silva met Jennifer Henshall and her sister, Christine Laliberte.
Both women were chasing around toddlers and both were pregnant with their second baby.
However, the similarities ended there.
Jennifer's oldest, Clara, was born in November 2009 with a condition that required blood donations.
"She was born with a condition called neonatal allo immune thromobocytopenia or NAIT," Henshall said. "My body sees the baby's platelets as a virus so it sends antibodies through the placenta to kill off the foreign platelets, and Clara was born with an extra low platelet count and needed two donor transfusions to normalize her system and to get her well."
Henshall knew this when she became pregnant back in 2011 with her second child. So during that pregnancy, she had intravenous immunoglobulin, a blood product twice a week for 16 weeks.
"And it's made out of blood plasma which is a component of blood. So I needed 33 bags of immunoglobulin over the course of my pregnancy, and it takes thousands of donors to make just one bag of immunoglobulin," Henshall said.
And that is why Henshall shares her story. She's thankful and wants to encourage new potential donors. She recently shared her story in the Rhode Island Blood Center newsletter, and at a press conference Monday promoted the center's "Give a Pint, Get a Pound" campaign.
"As I cannot personally thank the thousands of people who've donated blood and platelets to save my daughters and to contribute to their happy and healthy lives, by example, I can show them that regular blood donations and raising awareness is a great place to start," Henshall said.
Henshall has been a regular donor since her youngest daughter, Elyce, was born nearly two years ago.
To celebrate National Blood Donor Month, everyone who donates blood during the month of January will get a coupon for a free pound of Dunkin' Donuts coffee.