BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A blood drive honoring the life of a Hoover teenager, Sophia Zeigler, is happening Thursday. Zeigler was shot and killed inside a Marathon gas station in Hoover one year ago today. She was 19 years old.
According to Hoover Police, the suspect in Zeigler’s death, 24-year-old Skylar Dorsey, remains in custody at the Shelby County Jail awaiting trial for capital murder.
Sophia’s mother, Tessie Zeigler, said losing her daughter to gun violence has been traumatic, but their family is now choosing to move forward by giving back and honoring Sophia’s desire to serve.
Through today’s blood drive, Zeigler said she hopes to bring awareness to the need for blood, especially when lives are at stake.
“We’ve had a link in our chain broken,” said Zeigler. “That will forever be the case. However, our plan is to continue to move forward and give back to the community because Sophia had a heart for giving and sharing. She enjoyed working with the elderly and young children.”
The family is also partnering with a local nurse and CPR instructor, Lucretia McCarter advocating for more proactive responses from bystanders in emergency situations.
McCarter said teaching people the importance of learning how to stop bleeding and administer CPR can help save lives.
“I think a lot of the time people are just afraid, so they are looking, they don’t know what to do, they’re walking away when they can make such a vital change on those first few minutes,” said McCarter.
“The takeaway component is, and I speak for myself being a mother that has lost a child to gun violence, it is a horrific type of event. It’s a traumatic type of event,” added Zeigler.
Zeigler said sufficient blood supply is critical especially in emergency situations. The blood you donate can save lives, even your own. You never know when it could be needed most.
Partnering organization Lifesouth Community Blood Centers said they provide 80% of blood in the state of Alabama, but they’re currently at one day supply or less.
Zeigler said every donation counts, and they couldn’t think of a better way to honor Sophia.
“I’m so inspired by the Zeigler family and hearing their story and the brave foot they have to put forward every day and to turn this tragic event, and they’re doing something good in honor of their daughter,” said Paige Howard. “Plus when you donate, you save three lives for every donation.”
You can give a blood donation anytime between 9 a.m. and 4p.m. today at the Greystone YMCA- a celebration of life will follow from 4:30 to 9:30p.m. Zeigler said she hopes to make this act of service an annual tradition in Sophia’s honor.