Donated blood saves Mankato child

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Sep. 3—When Addi Naumann came into the world, she made quite an entrance.

Now 2 years old, the youngest of four children of Joe and Rachel Naumann of Mankato was born prematurely on June 14, 2021, at 23 weeks and three days gestation. Rachel's water had broken nine days prior, and she was admitted to the Fairview Masonic Children's Hospital in Minneapolis.

There, Rachel was monitored and given steroids to give Addi's lungs time to develop.

"She ended up lasting nine days, which was good," Joe said. "It gave the steroids a chance to work. It was so important to have Addi stay in utero for those nine days."

The story began during a service at the Mankato church where Joe is pastor. Rachel's water broke during the service, and she informed her husband afterward that she was in labor.

Joe recalls feeling surprised and sad and "all of those emotions," he said.

When Addi was born prematurely, she needed donated blood, as did Rachel because of complications during childbirth. Joe credits blood donors with saving their lives.

"She needed blood to keep her alive," Joe said of Addi. "To me, people who donate blood are saving lives. They are sharing the gift of life with others.

"If you don't have the blood you need, life can't be sustained," he went on. "So it's important for people who have that gift to give it to others. It's a gift, not expecting anything back. But giving out of the goodness of their hearts because they know people need the help. Being able to supply that to others such as Addi and Rachel is an amazing blessing."

Joe himself has long been a blood donor, and he hosts blood drives twice a year at Immanuel Lutheran where he's pastor. "I did so before, but it has special meaning for me now," he said.

"The Naumanns' story shows how important it is to have blood on the shelves for patients in need," said Sue Thesenga, regional communications manager for the American Red Cross for its Minnesota and Dakotas region. "If it hadn't been available when Addi's life was on the line, the outcome could have been very different. Same for Joe's wife, Rachel."

Mankato-area residents can help prevent a blood shortage by donating blood at the 17th annual Rock 'N Roll Up Your Sleeve Blood Drive on Sept. 5-8.

Locations include: Dave's River Valley Harley-Davidson, 1200 N. River Drive Sept. 5-7 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; National Guard Training and Community Center, 100 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Sept. 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Pioneer Bank, 1450 Adams St. Sept. 7 from noon to 5 p.m.; Hosanna Lutheran Church, 105 Hosanna Drive Sept. 8 from noon to 5 p.m.; St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 632 Broad St. Sept. 8 from noon to 5 p.m.

Not a part of the Roll Up Your Sleeve blood drive, but still a time and place to donate blood soon, is: Minnesota State University's Upward Bound drive in Centennial Student Union Ballroom 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 12.

Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and made available for patients, so it's the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency, the Red Cross reports.

"The need for blood is constant," the American Red Cross said in a news release. "And the Red Cross is already experiencing a concerning shortfall in donations. Those in unthreatened areas are encouraged to make and keep blood donation appointments to ensure we can meet the needs of patients whenever and wherever they arise."

"It's important to me," Naumann said of blood donations. "In that moment when we weren't sure if my daughter was going to live or die, we baptized her as quickly as we could. Jesus gave us the gift of life through his blood. You have the chance to give blood to other people, too. I look at as an opportunity to give blood just like Jesus my savior did for me."