Mankato's 11th Annual Rock 'N Roll Blood Drive Returns Next Week - KEYC

Mankato's 11th Annual Rock 'N Roll Blood Drive Returns Next Week

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The annual Rock 'N Roll Up Your Sleeve Blood Drive is just around the corner. The American Red Cross in Mankato is teaming up with Alpha Media and Culver's to encourage folks to donate.

Two-year-old Charlie Tietel is just one of thousands who benefit from blood donations.

"I took him in I thought he had an ear infection and then we found out about it that he had a heart murmur. We were sent to Children's and a week later he was diagnoses with mitral stenosis," Charlies mom, Shelby Tietel says. 

At just two–months–old Charlie had developed mitral stenosis–a heart disease caused by the narrowing of the mitral valve opening.

Since then, Charlie has had three open heart surgeries. He's suffered from pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses. At one point his hemoglobin level had dropped to 7.9. All this landing him and his family in the hospital for a total of nearly three months since his diagnoses.

"In total he's had 16 blood transfusions with surgeries and hospital stays," Shelby says. 

Transfusions that would not have been made possible if it wasn't for those who chose to donate.

"There's always people that are needing blood and it truly is a lifesaving thing you are giving," she says.

"Truly from the heart to another person's heart," Charlies dad, Joe Tietel adds. 

Charlie's parents say he will need more valve replacements in the future, but for now, leads life as your average two-year-old.

"I mean if you look at him, people are like, 'Oh something is wrong with him?' You just would never know because he's a carefree, strong-hearted, strong-willed little boy who just enjoys life."

The blood drive will be held September 12-15 at American Red Cross and varying Culver's locations in Mankato.

Those who donate will get a free pint of Culver's frozen custard, while supplies last.

For more information on locations or how to donate click here.