RICHMOND, Indiana – “Baby Tressel” Meinardi’s life story was tragically short yet it continues to inspire through his family’s dedication to helping save lives. “Storybook” was the theme of the eighth annual “Baby Tressel Day” memorial blood drive Saturday, Jan. 19 at Reid Health in Richmond.
A wintry mix of snow and ice was predicted across the region Saturday, but despite the forecast the blood driver totaled 26 donors and 21 donations for 95 percent of collection goal.
“The weather did not keep our Baby Tressel celebration from happening!” said CBC’s Melinda Frech. “It turned out great. Donors who thought they couldn’t make it in, made it on in. A big thanks to all!”
Tressel’s parents Scott and Emilie Meinardi planned a “Storybook” theme in Reid Health’s Lingle Hall with a birthday cake and table displays featuring favorite books and dolls from children’s literature. Tressel’s younger sisters Scarlet and Grayce hand-picked their favorite storybook characters, including the “Cat in the Hat,” “Arthur,” the “Paddington Bear,” “Pete the Cat,” and “Fancy Nancy.”
Scott wore a “Team Tressel” t-shirt as he made his 21st lifetime donation in his son’s honor.
Tressel was born premature on Jan. 20, 2010 with a heart condition. He was seven months old when he underwent heart surgery at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. A tragic mistake during the procedure led to his death.
The community rallied around the family by supporting a children’s book drive in Tressel’s honor and the first “Baby Tressel Day” blood drive on Feb. 15, 2012. Mayor Sally Hutton read a proclamation declaring the memorial blood drive part of Richmond’s “Day of Caring.
The Meinardi’s have family in Findlay, Ohio and named Tressel for former Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel. They named their daughters Scarlet and Grayce for the Buckeye colors.