Crash Survivor Encourages Blood Donations

Friday, May 22nd 2009, 4:23 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A Claremore teacher is on a mission to get more people to donate blood.

She says blood banks are in dire need of the gift that saved not only her life but her daughter's as well.

The pictures are frightening -- twisted metal from a head-on collision.

"All he got was a ticket for being left of center," said Mary Wilcox, car accident survivor.

Wilcox was behind the wheel, and her then-17-year-old daughter was riding shotgun.

"She still has a place in her leg where her bone hasn't healed yet," Wilcox said.

Eight months later and Wilcox is telling her story and incredible journey of survival.

"They had to take out my spleen and my sternum," she said. "My liver was lacerated, both lungs were damaged, ribs on both sides. It broke my left collarbone; it broke my right femur, shattered both kneecaps and broke my right foot in two places."

Wilcox says she and her daughter wouldn't have survived without a blood transfusion. Her goal now is to get more people to donate blood, pointing to herself as an example of a life that was saved.

She spent Friday encouraging donors during the Oklahoma Blood Institute's memorial weekend blood drive.       

OBI officials say the holiday weekend is the perfect time to donate blood.

Summer means more people outside and more life-threatening accidents. Plus, blood has a limited shelf life.

"Certainly we want to have enough on the shelf to make sure that a patient who comes in isn't worried about, 'Will there be enough? Can I have my surgery?'" said Dr. John Armitage, CEO of OBI. "We want to have it there ready to go."

Wilcox hopes her story can inspire others to take the time to donate blood.

"I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the people that donate blood," she said. "My daughter, more than likely, she wouldn't be here and you don't know whose life you're going to save."

The Oklahoma Blood Institute will be open 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. It's just west of Yale Avenue on 81st Street.