Local family understands importance of blood donation

The Bruner family, including their son Freddy, who was born 16 weeks early.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Freddy Bruner loves to run around and play like other six year olds, but life hasn't always been easy for this little boy or his family. He was born premature.

"Freddy and his twin sister were born at 24 weeks and 0 days, so 16 full weeks prematurely," said Lee Bruner, Freddy's mom. "We were in another state visiting family and they were born and they were really small. Freddy weighed 1-pound, 13-ounces and Delaney weighted 1-pound, 8-ounces."

Both babies were very sick and needed a lot of care.

"We weren't sure when they were going to need blood but we knew being 16 weeks premature that they were short, so we were thankful for the people who were able to donate and give their blood to help save him," said Lee Bruner. "Sadly Delaney lived a week and she passed away, but Freddy survived."

And he survived because of multiple blood transfusions.

"In fact, he has had nine before he was even discharged from the hospital, so he had to have blood to live," said Bruner, Freddy's mom.

"And now I'm living," said the young Bruner.

"Now you are living," said his mother.

His parents are eternally grateful for those that donated the blood that saved their son's life.

"We had family and friends that wanted to help and come out and give blood to keep Freddy alive and so yes without the blood without the people who were generous enough to spend the time to go and donate and give their blood, Freddy would not be alive today," said Lee Bruner.

And even at the young age of six, Freddy already understands the importance of that precious gift that saved his life and wants to give back.

"Can I give blood when I'm older?" said Freddy Bruner.

"You can give blood when you are older, yes you can," said Lee Bruner.

"When I'm a kid?" said Freddy Bruner.

"No, not when you are a kid; you have to be a little older," said Lee Bruner.

Donating blood -- it's a lesson that the Bruner family hopes to instill in all three of their kids.

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