Hillary Ray is a busy, working mother of three. Riley's the oldest, baby Harper is the youngest and Reed is right in the middle. Although Hillary’s schedule is full, she remains focused on what's important in life… because a short time ago her life was threatened.

"Approximately one in 14 moms with this condition die in childbirth.” As a result of having two cesarean sections before, Hillary was diagnosed with a potentially deadly conditions called placenta accreta. The placenta delivers nutrients from mother to baby. In this case, it attaches too deeply and can even grow through the uterine wall. "The complications with that are - as the uterus grows, the placenta is too deeply embedded as things grow and stretch. It starts to separate and that can cause some hemorrhaging.” Since she experienced bleeding most of her pregnancy, doctors put in a port and put her on bed-rest at 25 weeks gestation - to prepare for an emergency delivery. "Not only did I need to get through the pregnancy to keep [Harper] safe, but I had two other kids at home I needed to come home to." A few weeks later, she started bleeding badly and was rush in for a C-section and an hours long operation. "They put me under and [Harper] was born 13-minutes later. Then they whisked her away to the NICU and I stayed for the rest of surgery." Doctors removed her uterus, placenta and half her bladder. "While I was under anesthesia, I received five units of blood." 'It's a lot!' "It's about half of what was in my body." Once doctors stopped the bleeding, she reunited with sweet baby Harper and she received one more unit of blood.

Healthy Harper is now nine months old. "She's a firecracker. She definitely has a loud personality. She wants everyone to pay attention to her. She makes her presence known,” laughs Hillary. Perhaps, it is because she has been fighting from the start. However, she wasn't the only one; blood donors were looking out for this family, too. "I wouldn't be here without blood donors. Without the transfusions I received, I wouldn't have survived childbirth... and I'd have three kids without a mom." To mark Harper's first birthday, Hillary plans to return the favor and, once again, donate blood. "I've already got it on my schedule.  October 8th is my day. I will be donating again!”

You, too, can help save lives at our 10th annual Give 2 Live blood drive this Wednesday, July 12th.  We will be set up in the Grand Ballroom of the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Last year we collected more than 300 units of blood and we’ve collected a total of 1,633 units of blood in the previous nine blood drives. Our drive is part of the Summer Ride to Save Lives campaign. Donors will be entered into a drawing for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Individuals who are at least 16 years of age (16 and 17 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health may be eligible to donate blood. One pint of blood can save up to three lives!  To make an appointment, call 775-324-6454.