Austin Hochstetler’s life was saved this July, due in part to Indiana’s blood and plasma donors. Now, Hochstetler is asking the Goshen community to join him in giving back.

Tomorrow from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in the GC Union Gym, the American Red Cross will hold a blood drive in honor of Hochstetler.

In mid-July, Hochstetler began experiencing severe abdominal pains and was admitted into Goshen General Hospital. Doctors hesitantly diagnosed him with a rare blood disease (TTP-HUS) that was attacking Hochstetler’s liver and kidneys. After transferring to St. Joe’s Medical Center in Mishawaka (Ind.), Hochstetler began his journey to recovery.

Hochstetler’s recent blood tests show that his white blood cell count is at a 3.8 of 5.0—the highest it’s been since his sickness. But this wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of plasma donors. In the two and a half weeks Hochstetler spent in the hospital, he received eight pints of blood and more than 300 pints of plasma—many of which were imported from hospitals around Indiana due to the hospital’s low quota.

“I was a blood donor in the past,” said Hochstetler’s father, Ritch. “After I saw how blood donations helped save my son’s life, I was reminded of how vital it is that people respond to the need for blood.”

Admittedly, Austin Hochstetler had prior reservations about donating blood. Yet, after his experience he said, “I’m still alive because people donated plasma and blood.”

Friday’s blood drive is a way for Austin Hochstetler to thank the community for the support he received while also giving others an opportunity to replenish the blood supply. Austin Hochstetler encouraged the community to donate blood. Yet realizing that not everyone is able, Austin Hochstetler suggested donating in other ways: money to buy blood or volunteering at blood drives.

“If you do donate blood, time or money: thanks and know that you are saving lives,” wrote Austin Hochstetler on his blog (