About 18 people die each day waiting to receive an organ transplant, according to Donate Life, a national nonprofit alliance. The Heather Trew Foundation was established to make that number a little bit smaller.
The foundation started about three years ago to promote organ, tissue and blood donation in the Lowcountry. Its third annual blood drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday in the Joseph B. Fraser Field House at Hilton Head Preparatory School. The drive is being held in honor of Matthew Carrabba, a Hilton Head Christian Academy graduate who died in car crash in 2010 at age 21.
This year, organizers are hoping to top the 70 blood donations they received last year. They've teamed with The Blood Alliance to help organize the event.
The foundation's namesake is a Hilton Head Island resident who died at 19 after suffering through complications from an E. coli infection she developed when she was 7. She grew to become a strong proponent of organ donor awareness. She died in 2007 after a transplanted kidney failed. Her parents, Judy and Dwight, started the foundation to carry on her mission.
Since starting, the organization has donated more than $230,000 for research initiatives at Medical University of South Carolina. They're also looking to start Trew Friends organizations on college campuses to promote organ donation awareness and hold blood drives. In the meantime, the organization's goal is to make the community aware of how to become an organ donor.
"This is a problem that can be fixed," Judy Trew said.
For more information, go to www.theheathertrewfoundation.org. To make an appointment for the blood drive, call 843-422-5385.