Our September Donor of the Month, Lewis Gunsolus, has a very special story to share. He had donated blood a few times in high school, when he suddenly needed it himself.
It was New Year’s Eve in 2010, when Lewis was driving a friend home and pulled out at a blind intersection not realising an approaching car was going 75 miles a hour and gaining on him too fast. The car t-boned his, hitting the driver side door. His vehicle was thrown to the other side of the road with Lewis’s head bouncing against the door. It was his senior year of high school, and he was 17.
Lewis was unconscious and his skull was fractured and his spleen ruptured, so he needed six units of blood fast to save his life and survive surgery to pin his skull and remove his spleen. He was placed in a medically induced coma for 6 weeks at Kern Medical to heal. When he finally woke from the coma, he had turned 18. Fortunately, since the injuries occurred when he was 17, Lewis was transferred to Valley
Children’s Hospital for further treatment. He doesn’t recall much about this period except for his dad bringing his dog to see him. He was able to walk out of the hospital two and a half months later, and returned to half days at Frontier High School. His classmates had sold candy and colorful wristbands with his name on them to help with expenses. He remembers well being able to walk across the stage to graduate with his class in 2011.
Except for a trachea scar, barely noticeable skull scar, and a pin in his head, the accident is behind Lewis. He works for HSI which provides fire sprinklers, and has an 18 month old son. Lewis is one of our platelet donors who can “do a triple”, the most possible, when he’s on the automated donation machine. He switched from whole blood donations to platelets when he had to wait for his dad, also Lewis, who is also a platelet donor.
Lewis just says thank you to all blood donors for saving his life. The accident really made him think “That if someone could help me, I could help others”. He suggests that donors just give platelet donation a try. He likes that platelets replace faster in the body than red cells as they are returned to the donor after platelets are removed. Lewis assures potential donors “that the needle is really the same”.