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Genoa blood drive scheduled for Saturday

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 2:13 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 11:58 p.m. CDT
(Debbie Behrends -
Eighteen-month-old Beau Norris of Genoa, held by his mom, Denise, is the reason for a Red Cross blood drive scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at the Genoa Fire Department, 317 E. Railroad St. Beau was born with four congenital heart defects.

GENOA – In his 18 months of life, Beau Norris has endured three heart surgeries and will need more as he grows.

The young son of Denise and Brad Norris needs blood every time he has surgery, so his mom has coordinated a blood drive from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Genoa Fire Station, 317 E. Railroad St. Denise Norris has held two previous blood drives for the same reason.

“Beau needs blood every time he has surgery; we just never know how much he will need,” Denise Norris said. “The blood collected at the drive doesn’t go directly to Beau; this is just my way of giving back.”

Beau’s heart defects were discovered 15 hours after he was born in April 2012. She explained that he was diagnosed with four different defects – transposition of the greater arteries, pulmonary atresia and ventricular septal defect and atrial septal defect, which are two different types of holes in the heart.

During surgery, Beau is placed on a heart-lung bypass machine. Denise Norris said the machine has to be primed with extra blood.

He had his first surgery when he was just 10 days old, his second at 6 weeks of age and the third at 8 months in December 2012. Although Beau was born at SwedishAmerican Hospital in Rockford, his cardiologist is in Peoria.

All of his surgeries have taken place at Children’s Hospital of Illinois, which is affiliated with OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. A bake sale held during Saturday’s blood drive will benefit Children’s Hospital of Illinois.

Originally from the Genoa-Kingston area, the Norrises have family nearby to help out with Beau’s sister, Clover, 5, and brother, Kole, 4, when Denise Norris is at the hospital with him.

Beau’s only developmental delay is speech; he learned to crawl just one week after his surgery in December.

“We were told he shouldn’t have tummy time after his surgery, but he was ready to crawl,” Denise Norris said. “Fighting him on it might have caused more damage.”

Red Cross blood drive When: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday Where: Genoa Fire Station, 317 E. Railroad St. Walk-ins welcome, but appointments are preferred. To make an appointment, call Denise at 815-784-3412 or visit Each donor will receive a $5 Piggly Wiggly gift card.

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