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Blood drive to honor baby, whose life was cut short

Verhonica Mueller lived for 21 days after her birth with Neonatal Hemochromatosis, a rare blood disorder. In her memory, the family is holding a blood drive June 14.

Verhonica Mueller lived for 21 days after her birth with Neonatal Hemochromatosis, a rare blood disorder. In her memory, the family is holding a blood drive June 14. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— A life cut short just days after coming into the world inspired a family to help others —they organized a blood drive, and it's to occur this weekend.

The third annual Verhonica Mueller Memorial Blood Drive will take place Saturday June 14 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pottersville Fire House on Valley Farm Road, located off Northway Exit 26.

Kelly Wolfe, who helps organize the event, said the family wanted to do something substantial to honor her granddaughter.

“Verhonica was born April 9 and passed away 21 days later of Neonatal Hemochromatosis, a rare gestational disease of which there are only 151 documented cases worldwide,” she said.

Wolfe said Verhonica received plasma every day and numerous blood transfusions, which is why Verhonica's family decided to establish a blood drive in her memory.

“Three months after she passed we decided we wanted to do something to help others,” Wolfe said. “If not for the blood products we wouldn’t have had the 21 days we did with Verhonica, so we contacted Jill Ballou of the American Red Cross and set up our first blood drive.”

Along with the blood drive, the event also serves as to educate the public on Neonatal Hemochromatosis (NH), a rare gestational condition in which iron accumulates in the liver and extrahepatic sites of the fetus in a distribution similar to that seen in hereditary hemochromatosis.

“We not only want to draw attention to the blood drive but the horrible disease as well since many people have never heard of it,” Wolfe said.

For details on the blood drive, see: www.facebook.com/VerhonicasButterflies.

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