April 18, 2019

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -Lainey Phillips was a toddler when she lost her infant brother Logan to a rare disease.  Now a junior at Edgewood High School, she co-sponsored the monthly blood drive at the Atrium Medical Center on April 17 as a tribute to her brother and gave blood in his memory.

Logan was the inspiration for "The Logan Project," Lainey's FAA community service project. He was eight weeks old when admitted to Dayton Children's Hospital with a 103-degree fever and was later diagnosed with the immunodeficiency hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).

A "Meet Logan" photo display at the blood drive showed two-year-old Lainey cuddling with her baby brother in 2004 as he underwent weeks of treatment.  He was showing improvement and preparing for a bone marrow transplant when he died of heart failure at just 15 weeks old.

"She talked about him all the time," said Lainey's mother Cindy Phillips. "His birthday never passes when she's not aware of it.  She was in sixth grade when she said, 'I want to be a doctor and work with children.' That threw me for a loop. I had to sit down."

Cindy said Lainey returned from an FAA Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. and announced her plans for the Logan Project.   Cindy is a captain with the Wayne Township Rescue Squad and Lainey had made her first blood donation at Edgewood High at age 16.   CBC's Sandy Baur helped coordinate a co-sponsorship with the Atrium Medical Center monthly blood drive.

Lainey recruited family and friends to support the blood drive and included advocacy for "Be The Match" bone marrow donations and a social media fundraising campaign.

"Two aspects of my project were to co-sponsor the blood drive and let people know about 'Be The Match' when they sign-up," she said. 

"The third was the gift cards donated to Dayton Children's for children that are hospitalized. Kids having a bad day may want a Wendy's Frosty. With the gift card someone can go get a Frosty for them."

Lainey made her second lifetime donation at the blood drive and went back to work at her welcome table.  Her father Larry joined the family at the blood drive along with family friends Stacy Sebald and her son Hunter.

Lainey was both relieved and proud to accomplish the goals of the Logan Project, but she's also thinking about next year.

"I don't think my project will ever be done because the whole purpose is to spread awareness," she said. "We have our Facebook page with the donor portal. I want to be able help children like my brother in any way I can."