Blood Drive Honors Memory of Manhattan Beach TeenMay 08, 2021 08:45AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Gavin Kim. Photo credit: Zachary Chien.
A Beloved Brother, Son, and Friend
Kim was an active, friendly, and much-loved member of the Kim family
and the Manhattan Beach community. A student at Mira Costa High School,
he loved ice hockey, biking, skiing, traveling, adventuring, and hanging out with his friends.
He was born
with a heart defect and endured multiple surgeries throughout his life. He went into the hospital in November 2019 for open heart surgery. However, he developed complications that led to two more open heart surgeries, and tragically, he passed away in March 2020.
The timing of his passing, just before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, made it difficult for family and friends to come together to honor him.
However, over the past year, the family was able to dedicate a bench to Gavin on the Greenbelt at 2nd and Ardmore.
"I just would like people to remember that he was always very happy, and he always had a good attitude about everything," said his sister Natalie. "He never complained about about being sick, or about not being able to do the same kinds of things that we could do."
His spirit is also kept alive through memories that his family and friends have shared online.
Among his many friends were the Chaikovsky twins, AJ and JJ, who considered themselves "triplets" with Gavin.
"I've always called you my triplet because we'd stick together no matter what. Your strength and spirit were so admirable and everyone knows you had one of the best laughs ever," wrote AJ in a tribute to Gavin. "The positivity and joy you brought to the world truly made it a better place."
Blood Drive a Fitting Tribute
While at the hospital, Gavin needed a great deal of blood and blood components, including plasma and platelets.
In fact, according to Children's Hospital L.A., its patients need approximately 2,000 units of blood and blood
components each month as part of the life-saving care provided at the
hospital. Platelets, the blood component necessary for clotting, are especially needed for children undergoing bone marrow
transplant therapy or chemotherapy, and are the most frequently used blood component at the hospital.
To provide all of the necessary units of blood, the hospital needs to collect blood from approximately 800 donors per month. Nearly 90 percent of the blood transfused at Children's Hospital Los Angeles comes from its donor center - and rarely is enough blood donated to cover patient use.
When the Kim sisters came up with the idea for the blood drive, Natalie, who is a junior ambassador for CHLA, reached out to the blood drive coordinator at the hospital to figure out how to set up an event. The CHLA team helped her set up a web site and create a poster.
Back in Manhattan Beach, the family had previously worked with Manhattan Beach Director of Parks and Recreation Mark Leyman to dedicate the bench on the Greenbelt. So Natalie again reached out to Leyman, who helped her work with the city to establish the blood donation site at the Joslyn Center.
Again, the appointments are currently filled for May 12 and 13, but drop-ins are welcome. To donate blood to CHLA at another time, visit https://chladonateblood.org/.