REALTOR® challenges to give back by donating blood

Guest blog by Michelle Salt,  REALTOR®, CCS — CIR Realty Downtown

For years I thought my biggest challenge would be my career as a REALTOR®. I knew that success was made with hard work and determination. It wasn’t until June 27, 2011 that my biggest challenge was put in front of me and I was given the option to succeed or give up.

Last June, I was out for an evening ride with some friends when I lost control of my motorcycle going 121 kilometres an hour. My body and my bike dragged across the pavement until I hit a guardrail, flew several feet in the air and hit the guardrail again. Upon impact, I broke 13 bones including my hips, pelvis, vertebrates, clavicle and femur in two places, which severed my femoral artery. My body was so twisted and contorted that it was unsure whether I was male or female to those first on scene. Three complete strangers didn’t hesitate to stop, call 911 and lay on the ground holding my hand while I almost bled to death. In total I lost 28 units of blood in less than 36 hours, which is close to three times what my body holds. That means 28 blood donors and complete strangers gave me what I needed to survive.

My memory of that day has been wiped clean except for one vivid moment; the moment I almost gave up. I remember seeing myself being put on the STARS stretcher with my body completely contoured and bones sticking out of my legs. I knew deep down I was left with no option but to fight for my life as long as I could. That fight would of never been possible without blood donors.

I can’t imagine what my family had to go through sitting in that room waiting to hear the news. However I do know they had faith because they knew that I was receiving as much blood as I was losing.

I went through four major surgeries in three days in which I had six bolts placed into my back, two pins in my hip, a plate in my tibia and a major vein brought over from my left leg to my right. None of these surgeries would of been successful if I didn’t have enough blood keeping my heart strong. My fate was left in the hands of doctors, blood donors and God.

Due to my severed artery and deep laceration, I lost all blood flow in my right leg. Doctors worked tirelessly that night and the following day to repair what they could but sadly, my right leg above the knee could not be saved, and on June 29th, my new life began as an amputee and a survivor.

Nine days after my accident — seven of those days being spent on life support — I was told about my leg, my injuries and the role blood donors played in saving my life.

Everyday I am very thankful to STARS, blood donors and all medical personnel for saving my life; and because I am grateful to be alive, I have made the best of my situation. In less than a year, I re-learned how to walk, run, do the Dougie, boulder, kayak, play sit volleyball and basketball, hit a baseball, swim and cycle with one leg. I’m back to selling real estate and am now focusing on helping people with physical challenges such as myself! My career is more rewarding than ever! I was told it would take me years to get back on my snowboard — which was my biggest passion — but being the stubborn French Canadian that I am, I got back on my board only seven months after my accident. I am extremely proud to share that as of July, I am the only female on the National Para-Snowboard team and am working on representing Canada in the 2014 paralympic games in Sochi Russia

By donating blood, you are giving a second chance: meaning a family can spend another Christmas together, a child can say I love you one more time and a book doesn’t have to remain un-written.

Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back so I challenge you, please give back by donating. Encourage your family to make an appointment, share the importance of giving blood and take an hour out of your day to visit the blood donor clinic. By doing this you are not only saving a life but you are giving someone the opportunity to have a fairytale ending.

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