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O Negative Blood Saves College Student after Horrific Accident

Today, the American Red Cross issued an urgent call for all eligible individuals to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now by using the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). Blood products are currently being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in. As we approach the holiday season, blood donation challenges will only increase. Unfortunately, blood needs don’t take a holiday. Blood is needed every two seconds, without lifesaving donations patients like Jacob Lewis would not have survived.

Jacob Lewis has been a loyal blood donor since he was 16 years old. In March 2016, just after his 19th birthday, he realized the importance of blood donations when he needed blood following a horrific car accident.

Jacob's car after his accident.

Lewis’ car was run over by a semi-trailer truck, leaving him with broken vertebrae, broken ribs, a broken elbow and wrist, and lacerations to his spleen, liver and kidney. He was flown by a life flight team to the local Glenwood hospital and then on to Nebraska Medicine in Omaha. By the time Lewis arrived in Omaha, he had received 10 blood transfusions. During his weeklong stay in the hospital, he underwent 24 hours of surgery and needed 14 blood transfusions in total.

Jacob standing next to his doctor.Jacob is currently a senior in college applying to graduate physical therapy programs. He is also a student coach for his school basketball team. This wouldn’t have been possible without doctors, nurses and blood donors.

“We will forever be grateful to the donors who made the blood available to Jacob,” said Lewis’ mother, Jennifer Lewis. “If that O negative hadn’t been there, he wouldn’t have survived.”

Type O negative red blood cells can be transfused into any patient, regardless of blood type, making donors with these universal blood types an important part of the Red Cross trauma team. Less than 7 percent of the population has type O negative blood.

Donate Blood Now to Help Save Lives

The Red Cross encourages individuals to make a donation appointment and to complete a RapidPass online health history questionnaire to help speed up the donation process. RapidPass can now be completed online at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass, on mobile devices and through the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Donors can help even more people by inviting a family member, friend or co-worker to donate too.

A picture of Jacob smiling.