Couple turns the loss of a child into the gift of life for others

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ST. LOUIS -A local couple has turned the loss of their child into an annual, life-saving event.  Joey Eidleman passed away in 2011.

“He passed away unexpectedly during a nap when he was a 15 ½ months,” said Tom Eidleman, Joey’s father.

Tom and his wife Sarah hosted their annual blood drive at Clayton High School Sunday.  The drive is held in Joey’s memory.  Donated blood was used to try and save Joey at the hospital.

“We realized then when we were sitting in the room that there were people that we didn’t know that had done this for him,” said Sarah Eidleman, Joey’s mother.   “So, we really wanted to repay that community that gave back to us.”

The drive included a bounce house for kids to have fun.   The event is always held in October because that’s the month Joey was born.

“Had he been here he would have continued to make an impact in this world and really bring goodness and make a mark on the world,” said Sarah Eidelman.

“We’ve had two additional kids since, and all our friends’ children who really care will never forget and we love them all,” said Tom Eidelman.

Tom and Sarah say their two living children wanted to be part of the annual blood drive so the family also set up craft tables this year for volunteers to make blankets and super hero capes that will go to children who are hospitalized.

“Each item will have a little tag on it saying made by friends of Joey,” said Sarah Eidelman.

She said her family and friends will continue to host the annual event as long as there are people interested in donating blood.