Charles “Chuck” Pruitt was thanking donors for saving his life on a Facebook post this year, so we asked him to share more of his story with us. He gladly did! Chuck reports that, in July and August of 2014, he was near death waiting for a new liver. He had developed Hepatitis D and it soon took control of his ability to remember words, drive or even walk.
He was admitted to the Bakersfield Heart Hospital, and began receiving blood products to remain stable. At the end of July he was transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to be evaluated for a transplant. While there, blood, platelet and plasma transfusions were continued. Months after coming home, Chuck looked through his itemized hospital statements and counted 176 units of blood, platelets and plasma!
Fortunately, a donor was found after only 10 days. His young donor had been involved in motorcycle accident, and Chuck says he thinks of his donor every day. “I think of him as if he was my own son,” Chuck says. With a new chance at life, Chuck seizes every day. “Life is a gift, believe me,” he says.
Thanks to his organ donor and scores of blood donors, Chuck can now walk about 2 miles every day with his wife, something he was unable to do during his illness. He’s hiked the high Sierras many times and was able to see his grandson graduate from eighth grade. Chuck is also a volunteer ambassador for One Legacy OPO, sharing his experience with high school students and other groups. Whenever he speaks about organ and tissue donation, he includes the importance of blood donation to his survival, surgery and recovery.
To all of you Charles says “Thank you for being there. Blood saves lives.”