Teen saved, in part, by blood donations shares story and encourages donation

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Blood donors have the potential to save a life every time they roll up their sleeve.

A Roanoke County teen - 18-year-old Connor McCauley - is living proof of the difference donors make.

He survived a head-on collision with a drunk driver going the wrong way on Interstate 81 in 2014. He was airlifted to Roanoke Memorial, where he was met with a team of emergency room doctors.

"I heard what sounded like gunshots but it was really the other drivers car on fire," Connor explained. "I'm pretty sure I heard them mention the aorta and I learned from high school that that was a very major one to tear."

Then 17, Connor had a torn aorta, requiring immediate open-heart surgery. He and his family prayed.

Knowing that I may not like, survive that surgery, I told the nurses and the doctors there that - I thanked them for what they would do because I knew this was going to be a very hard surgery and I knew that they do the best that they could and then I went to sleep."

The nine-hour surgery was a success, but it would take time to recover and for the pain to subside.

I can't even describe what it feels like. My chest was ripped open my femur was broken and there really wasn't a part of me that didn't hurt at all."

Despite the hurt, Connor and his family said there was gratitude for the doctors and the blood donors who helped save his life.

Connor explained, "all those people that donated the blood, they definitely saved me because I would definitely not have survived without that blood. And I thank them for that - whoever they are."

Connor needed 6 units of blood during the ordeal. Physicians Assistant Marie English, who saw Connor during his two-week hospital stay, underscored the need for blood donors.

She explained, "it's very important. There have been instances where we have used all of our resources at the hospital and we've had to ask for other blood from other places."

Connor, who was barely met the age requirement to donate at the time of the accident, and is no longer allowed to donate due to that incident, said he would if he could.

If i could I would because I know that it would definitely help out a lot more people. In my dire situation, I needed it a ton. And I'm so thankful for that. I can't say it enough."

WSLS 10 is partnering with Carilion Clinic and Virginia Blood Services for the 10 Cares Blood Drive, on Friday, July 16. Three locations will accept donations from eligible donors from noon until 6 p.m:

  • New River Valley Mall - Christiansburg
  • Tanglewood Mall - Roanoke
  • River Ridge Mall - Lynchburg