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May is Trauma Awareness Month

In May, we shine a light on trauma awareness, an important time to recognize how deeply traumatic experiences affect people, families and communities. This month reminds us to prioritize understanding, support and healing for those dealing with trauma. But in the midst of conversations about resilience and recovery, there's a crucial aspect often overlooked -- blood donation. 

Trauma incidents can happen suddenly, leaving people in urgent need of medical help. Whether it's a car crash, a natural disaster, or an act of violence, traumatic events can cause severe blood loss, requiring immediate transfusions to save lives.  

Taneshia's story vividly illustrates the devastating effects of trauma. Her life took a sharp turn at 19. In July 1990, right after high school, she faced a terrifying experience. Just three days post-graduation, she was in a severe car crash with two friends. Rain poured down as they hydroplaned, crashing into a truck after the driver slammed the brakes. The impact flung Taneshia over 50 yards into oncoming traffic, while her friends remained trapped.  

The collision left her with a shattered clavicle, multiple fractured ribs, internal bleeding, severe eye damage and paralysis. Over the following four years, she underwent intensive rehabilitation to address each injury sustained in the crash. During her recovery, memories of the accident resurfaced. Among them was the shocking realization that she had received over 22 pints of blood initially, along with additional blood transfusions to address severe anemia resulting from the accident. 

Taneshia's experience shows the critical need for blood donation in trauma care. Traumatic injuries often result in severe blood loss, creating an immediate need for transfusions to save lives. Blood donors play a vital role in providing the essential blood needed for emergency surgeries. 

“Thank you for understanding that what you're doing with the choice you're making will actually result in saving someone's life,” Taneshia said. 

Taneshia’s experiences motivated her to organize blood drives and raise awareness about the crucial significance of donating blood for trauma patients. 

“It takes one person to donate blood. It takes several people to be able to save several lives. Once I see five or more people step up and donate blood, that’s the rewarding part,” Taneshia said. 

In honoring National Trauma Awareness Month, let us remember Taneshia's resilience and the countless others who have faced traumatic experiences. While only 3 percent of civilian trauma cases require significant blood transfusions, they utilize a significant 70 percent of the blood supply in trauma centers. By supporting trauma awareness efforts and donating blood, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by trauma and contribute to building healthier, more resilient communities. 

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