January 20, 2020

RICHMOND, Indiana - The Meinardi family celebrated the memory of their son Tressel with a "Lion King" theme for the ninth annual Tressel Meinardi Memorial Blood Drive Saturday, Jan. 18 at Reid Health in Richmond. 

Despite wet, icy roads Saturday, the blood drive topped 109 percent of goal with 33 donors and 24 donations.

"The weather did not stop Tressel Meinardi's Blood Drive from "roaring" in the New Year!" said Community Blood Center's Melinda Frech. "The memorial blood drive would have been Tressel's 10th birthday and for this milestone year the family chose a lion theme."

Tressel Meinardi was born premature and with a heart condition on Jan. 20, 2010. He was seven months old when he underwent surgery at Cincinnati Children's Hospital where a tragic mistake during surgery led to his death. The first "Baby Tressel Day" memorial blood drive was held Feb. 15, 2012.  

Tressel's parents Scott and Emilie come from a Findlay, Ohio family of Ohio State football fans. They named Tressel for former Buckeye football coach Jim Tressel. Daughters Scarlet and Grayce are named for the Buckeye colors.

The family dressed in "Lion King" t-shirts for Tressel's birthday party remembrance and the girls welcomed donors and visitors to the blood drive in Reid's Lingle Hall to enjoy coloring books, balloons and animal face masks.

Kim Hawkins made her milestone 50th lifetime donation at the blood drive in honor of Tressel and held up a special birthday party cookie. It was shaped like a heart with "courageous" spelled out in frosting in tribute to Tressel.