Family plans blood drive to honor Churchville woman who died during childbirth

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GATES, N.Y. (WROC) – A Churchville woman’s family and friends are honoring her legacy through a memorial blood drive.

Alison Waclawek died suddenly in August 2019 during childbirth from a rare condition called an Amniotic Fluid Embolism. It affects only one in 50,000 pregnancies. Waclawek was that one.

Katie Sellwood was best friends with Waclawek since they were three years old. She said they did everything together.

Ali with her best friend Katie

“Neither one of us had a sister, so it kind of became like we were sisters we did most things together, she was there for all of my firsts I was there for most of hers,” said Sellwood.

One of those firsts was Waclawek getting pregnant with her first child. Her mom, Amy Carey, said everything was normal until she lost consciousness right before she gave birth.

Ali with her mom

“The medical staff came in and did everything they could to keep her alive and deliver the baby and they did deliver the baby successfully through C section but unfortunately Ali did not survive,” Carey said.

Waclawek died when amniotic fluid got into her bloodstream. Dr. Daniel Grace is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist and has seen this condition before.

“You have this kind of perfect storm of inability to breathe, inability to circulate blood, inability to form blood clots while actively bleeding and it becomes a true emergency,” said Dr. Grace.

There aren’t risk factors or a test you can take to find out if you have this condition. That’s why Waclawek’s family wants to raise awareness about it and honor her memory.

“So many people came forward and said, ‘We are so sorry for your loss, we are so touched ourselves for your loss,’ so Katie, Ali’s best friend growing up, stepped forward and said, ‘I want to do a memorial blood drive,” said Carey.

Ali with her husband Justin

Sellwood said if the blood drive can save a life, she knows Waclawek would be proud.

“One thing that Ali offered to people was a feeling of home. You know when you go on vacation and you come home and you get that sense of relief, Ali gave that to people just by being in the room,” Sellwood said about her best friend.

The blood drive will be held this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Gates Fire Department. Appointments aren’t necessary but they are recommended You can sign up here using keyword AliCareyMemorial.

The AFE Foundation is working on finding the cause of this rare condition. You can read more about what they’re doing here.

Ali and Justin’s daughter Ada

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