Seventeen-year-old Alex Boyd had dropped off his brother and was driving home to Oklahoma City on Interstate 40 with his teenage sister when the accident happened.
Boyd briefly fell asleep at the wheel. As his sister, Emily, screamed and the vehicle veered, he came to. He tried to steer the pickup back to the highway, but it hit a guardrail and rolled four or five times.
“We landed on top of those guard rails,” he said. “It came through the door and hit me in the leg. That pretty much almost ripped my leg off.”
To survive, he needed 15 surgeries and up to three blood transfusions a day during a 33-day stay at OU Medical Center. He broke both of his legs. Doctors had to amputate his right leg below the knee. Without blood donors, Boyd knows that he wouldn't have pulled through, he said.
“It's important to give blood,” he said. “I never thought about it before, but I think about it now.”
To help blood recipients like Boyd, the Oklahoma Blood Institute is hosting its sixth annual Holiday Blood Drives, supported by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Each blood donor will receive a “Thunder Up Give Blood” T-shirt.
The drives are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday in Ada, Ardmore, Enid, Lawton and Tulsa, and Saturday in Oklahoma City at the Cox Convention Center. One donor at each location will win a pair of lower-level tickets to an upcoming Thunder game.
The Oklahoma Blood Institute hosts the holiday drives at a time of high risk for shortages because of fewer opportunities to give at centers and mobile drives.
Boyd remembers almost all the details about his accident, though some are vague. Strangers stopped to help; a woman wrapped a shirt around his leg to make a tourniquet and stop blood loss. A man stopped and cut his sister's seat belt off; she was stuck in the vehicle but otherwise OK.
Today, Boyd is recovering at home and plans to return to school Jan. 8. He plans to walk across the stage with members of his senior class in the spring. Next month, he hopes to be fitted for a prosthetic.
“It was tough,” said his mother, Angela Estus. “The days are looking much brighter.”
Crash victim promotes blood donations
In September, Alex Boyd, 17, was severely injured in an accident. He received up to three units of blood a day while enduring 15 surgeries at OU Medical Center, including the amputation of his right leg below the knee. The Oklahoma Blood Institute is hosting blood drives 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday in Ada, Ardmore, Enid, Lawton and Tulsa, and Saturday in Oklahoma City at the Cox Convention Center. The blood supply is at risk for a shortage during the holidays due to fewer opportunities to give.