Updated: 04/30/2013 10:41 PM KSTP.com By: Naomi Pescovitz
For one Edina family "thank you's" are measured in pints of blood. 7-year-old George Lagerstrom was born with a heart defect and has required more than 120 units of blood and blood products to save his life.
On Tuesday afternoon, his community gathered at Our Lady of Grace Church for a Star Wars-themed blood drive in his honor. George is an avid Star Wars fan.
"Each day is a gift and we were very worried at the beginning about George, and he showed us that he could pull through anything making it through that first night," said George's mom, Julie Lagerstrom.
George had surgery for his condition last fall at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia. Due to complications and excessive bleeding after surgery, his extremities were damaged. His left hand was amputated, along with part of his right hand and foot. He is now in rehab at Gillette Children's Hospital.
"He has a prosthetic hand that we've been getting used to using which we call his Luke Skywalker," Julie Lagerstrom said.
Tuesday's blood drive was in honor of George and in recognition of the hundreds of donors who helped save his life. 102 pints of blood were collected for the American Red Cross.
"Given the situation with him needing so much blood to save his life, that's something that's just not easily replenished and so we knew that we had a lot of people backing us on this," Julie Lagerstrom said. "You're not just donating money or, it's a different way of something more personal where they can come and spend an hour donating blood and saving a life."
George may eventually need a heart transplant but his family is hoping he will be able to go home from the hospital next month.