January 29, 2018

RICHMOND, Indiana - "Little Buckeyes" Scarlet and Grayce Meinardi wore matching circus party dresses to the seventh annual "Baby Tressel Day Blood Drive" Jan. 27 at Reid Health to celebrate the memory of the older brother they never knew.

 Tressel's mother Emilie Meinardi planned a circus birthday party theme in Lingle Hall with special treats and a craft table for kids.  Supporters helped the blood drive reach 129 percent of goal with 36 donors and 29 donations.

 "It was a great blood drive," said CBC Account Representative Melinda Frech. "It was a circus theme and everybody had fun. Texas Roadhouse donated peanuts and we had circus cookies.  There was a crafts cable for any kids that came. They made get well cards for children in the hospital."

 Tressel was Emilie and Scott Meinardi's first child.  He was born premature on Jan. 20, 2010 with a heart condition.   He was seven months old when he underwent heart surgery at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. A tragic mistake during the procedure led to his death.

 The community rallied around the family, and continues to support Tressel's memory with the blood drive. The first Community Blood Center "Baby Tressel Day" blood drive was held Feb. 15, 2012. Mayor Sally Hutton read a proclamation declaring the memorial blood drive part of Richmond's "Day of Caring.At Saturday's seventh annual blood drive, Melinda, Emilie and her mother Joetta wore "Team Tressel" t-shirts from different years.

 The Meinardi's have family in Findlay, Ohio and named Tressel for former Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel.  Scarlet and Grayce were named for the Buckeye colors.   

Emilie gave birth to daughter Scarlet in 2011 and she too was born with a heart condition.  Her doctors at Cincinnati Children's were the same that cared for Tressel. Grayce was born in 2014.

 Family and friends gathered at Reid to help with the blood drive and donate. Friend Lola Feaselman made her milestone 90th lifetime donation, volunteer Rod Lamberson made his 50th donation and Scott Meinardi made his 20th.