Sterling Strong: The Gary family is carrying on their daughter’s legacy by donating blood

Sterling Strong: The Gary family is carrying on their daughter’s legacy by donating blood

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GARY, Ind. (WLS) – Blood donation impacts families in ways some may never understand.

“We’ve seen firsthand why donating blood is so important. We saw it save our daughter’s life,” said Maddie Raspe.

We introduced you to the Raspe family last year ahead of the Great Chicago Blood Drive 2022: Kingsley, Maddie and their daughter Sterling.

Sterling Strong: Gary’s couple encourage blood donation after daughter’s death

Sterling battled a rare heart condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. She required multiple surgeries and dozens of blood transfusions.

Eventually she died at the age of eight months. But her memory lives on in more ways than one.

“Even after she died, we still talk about her on a daily basis. We have a section dedicated to her. We have a tree that we planted with her ashes,” Kingsley Raspe said.

The Raspe family regularly holds blood drives in Sterling’s honor because blood donations gave them more time with their little girl. They collect so many blood units that the American Red Cross named them premiere partners.

“We just did it out of the heart, we didn’t really know we were going to have such a significant impact,” Kingsley Raspe said.

And now there’s a new addition to the family initiative: Sterling’s little brother, Wren.

“It was like perfect timing when he finally arrived because at first it wasn’t what we envisioned having a baby so soon after,” said Maddie Raspe. “He really healed us in a way I never imagined.”

And although Wren’s big sister isn’t physically with him, Sterling’s memory lives on encouraging more people to donate blood and Wren’s parents vow to teach him just how strong she was.

“He had an older sister who was only here a short time, but in that short time left a legacy that we can only hope to fill ourselves,” said Kingsley Raspe.

The Raspe family has a campaign called “Sterling Strong” that encourages everyone to donate blood.

If Kingsley and Maddie have inspired you to make a donation, you can register for the Great Chicago Blood Drive here.

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