WATERLOO, Ind. (WFFT) — The New Hope Christian Center is seeing faces old and new, but Thursday afternoon is about more than prayer.
The American Red Cross is collecting blood donations in what has become an annual event to honor one local teen.
"I know that there's a huge need in our area for blood at this time, and so in honor of one of my former students, I just thought I would come and do it for the first time and see what it’s like," Toni Werner said.
Werner had a young Brady Prosser in her fourth-grade class, just a few years before Brady suffered severe burns to most of his body while he was burning leaves.
His mother Emily says doctors told her Brady had less than a seven percent chance of surviving.
"Within the first two to three weeks, he needed about 64 units of blood and blood product," Emily said. "So we knew the need was super great. At the time, everyone kept asking, ‘How can we help? What can we do for your family?’ and all I could say was ‘pray for us, and donate blood,’ because there was a one-day supply at the time."
Brady’s life was saved five years ago, partly thanks to events like these. So ever since then, the Prosser family has held their own annual blood drive, hoping to help any families who may find themselves in a similar situation.
"Now I think they’re back at one day is all they have in backups. So it’s so important to get out there and donate blood because survivors from car accidents or any kind of other injuries or surgeries, things like Brady, they lose a lot of blood. So it’s really important. The blood donations that they give are the only things that saves these people," Emily said.
Emily says while Brady’s accident was obviously terrible, she’s impressed with how much good it has brought out in the community, and she’s amazed at her son’s resiliency.
"He’s gonna be a normal kid, which was his goal all along, just to end up healing and surviving and being a normal kid," Emily said.
Emily Prosser says the drive tends to bring in more than 30 units of blood each year.
They received over 90 units in donations in the first drive immediately after Brady’s accident.
The Red Cross is still in need of blood donations. To find a location to donate, visit their website.
They say they're especially in need of 'O Negative' blood type donors, who are considered "universal donors."