Family pays it forward, hosts blood drive after son’s open heart surgery

Family pays it forward, hosts blood drive after son’s open heart surgery
Nathaniel Sparks (Source: Sparks family)

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - Fighters come in all shapes in sizes and this little guy here is no different.

Family hopeful community will donate blood for baby born heart disease

“We knew early on he would be born with Down Syndrome and he had an AVS Canal Defect,” Nathaniel’s father, Blaine Sparks said.

Nathaniel Sparks was born with severe congenital heart disease. It forced the 5-month-old to need blood and the help of the community sooner than expected. He recently went into heart failure.

“He had a full-blown open-heart surgery and he used a couple units of blood, some cryo, and platelets,” his father said.

The Blood Center and the Sparks family partnered to host the blood drive at a Walmart in Denham Springs. Nathaniel’s family is paying it forward by donating blood themselves and encouraging others to do the same. The hope is to collect blood for more people like Nathaniel.

“We’re doing this blood drive to help the people that helped us because, without them, he wouldn’t have had the blood and everything to have the surgery,” Sparks said.

Public Relations Manager for The Blood Center, Paul Adams said events like this help them get the components hospitals need for patients across Southeast Louisiana. “Blood is one of the few drugs out there that hospitals have that can’t be manufactured. So, it really is a community effort to make sure that blood is available when an emergency occurs,” Adams said.

With the Blood Center serving over 30 hospitals across the state, these donations will surely be put to good use.

If you would like to donate blood on behalf of Nathaniel, visit the donor center in Denham Springs. For more information about The Blood Center and if you’d like to host a blood drive, call (800) 86-BLOOD or visit

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