It was party with cake, cards and well wishes for now 17-year-old Craig Hutto. After surviving last week's shark attack, he and his family remain in the minds of many in our community.
On Wednesday, hundreds of people decided to show support for him and help celebrate his birthday by donating blood. The Hutto family credits blood donations with saving Craig's life.
Lou Ann Hutto, Craig's mother, says, "We talked to the helicopter nurse last night and she said that she gave him 350 cc's, so half his body in blood, and they've given him 17 units at the hospital, so we're wanting to give back the gift that was given to him.
The mood was light and fun and even I decided to sit in the chair. Just a little pinch, and the needle is in. Just one donation can save the life of two people.
Rhonda Dodge of the American Red Cross says, "We have an extreme shortage with our blood supply and it’s extremely critical for everyone to donate. Come in these doors not only for Craig, but for other patients like him because they all deserve summer vacations and fun parties and birthdays.
Staffers say you should take it easy after giving blood, taking in plenty of fluids and food.
All kidding aside, the Hutto family wants everyone to know how appreciative they are of the local community.
"We can't thank everyone enough. I know that I'm going to send thank you notes to everyone I can, but I hope for the people I miss, truly thankful.”
I also spoke with Miss Hutto about Craig's recovery. She says he is in stable condition after his fifth surgery Tuesday night.
Doctors performed a skin graft to cover his wound. His family is planning to return home to Tennessee within the next couple of days.
For more information about donating blood, contact the Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.