WEST PEORIA - It’s something that everyone has, but you don't usually think about it.
Blood... and when you need it, every drop can mean the difference between life and death.
9 year old Blake Ballard Blake was born with several congenital heart defects
So far, he has had 2 open heart surgeries.
"They did the first surgery when he was a week old. They did the second one 2 days before Thanksgiving in 09... He was 5” says his mother Amber Ballard.
This summer he will have his 3rd.
"The surgery Blake is having is really rare. They are putting an adult sized aortic arch into his heart."
Because of the surgeries, Blake has needed 5 blood transfusions so far.
"Hopefully, this one we won't need a whole lot, but we want to be prepared just in case."
So the Ballard family is planning a blood drive to ensure that patients like Blake have access to the life-saving blood they need.
"I promised that I would do this with every surgery. That way people would be aware of what it really means and who it really hits.
This weekend, the Ballards hope to break records with the amount of blood they collect... not only to help their son, but to help others in need too.
"Most kids don’t have to go thru this kind of stuff and have this type of stress on them at 9-10 years old. He's holding together pretty well for what's going on."
Blake's surgery is scheduled for the end of the school year. The blood drive to honor Ballard will be held this Saturday at the Grandview Lodge on Prospect Road in Peoria from 9 until 1.