Milk, blood banks form lifesaving partnership in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS - Two lifesaving organizations joined forces on Thursday to form a historic partnership that is a first of its kind in the country.

Fishers mom Windi Troyer donated 210 ounces of breast milk and made history. It was the first donation to the Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank at the Indiana Blood Center.

Officials said the partnership for the two groups makes perfect sense.

"Yeah. you know, our missions align. Both of our donors are literally giving of themselves," said Lucy Wehking with the Indiana Blood Center. "Both of our donors are providing lifesaving products to hospital patients."

Through the partnership, mothers can drop off their breast milk at any Indiana Blood Center location. That nearly doubles the number of drop-off centers available to moms across Indiana from 10 to nearly 20.

"This partnership expands our reach by eight more milk depots once Lafayette opens. So that's hugely important to our donor base. It makes it so convenient for our donors to get their blood drawn for the approval process and also to just bring their milk to a location instead of packing it and shipping it," said Carissa Hawkins with Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank.

Donated breast milk goes to the sickest babies in neonatal intensive care units across the state. Donated blood goes to patients of all ages, adding up to about 550 pints a day.

Crystal Gold's son, Gavin, now 3, needed both.

"My second son was born 8 weeks early and he was the first donor recipient of donated breast milk at IU North in 2011 and the other part of that is he was also the recipient of donated blood because he needed a 70 percent blood transfusion at birth and without both of those, I feel like he wouldn't have survived. And so my son is here because of the work that the people in this building are doing," Gold said. "He's very smart, so funny, so sweet and he's running and learning to ride a bike and he's just a happy kid and it's thanks to the gifts of other people."

Milk donations can be made during normal business hours at any of the Indiana Blood Centers.

The partnership is the first of its kind between a milk and blood bank in the United States. Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank hopes the convenience will encourage more new moms to become donors.

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