Blood donations save drunk driving crash victim's life - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Blood donations save drunk driving crash victim's life

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COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Victor Deleon didn't watch as the nurse slid a needle into his arm and the tube it was connected to immediately began pumping blood. For him, this isn't a normal routine, the last time he says he gave blood was in his teens and that was well over 10 years ago. The truth is, Deleon was recently on the receiving end of blood donations, a lot of them.

On November 24th, Deleon and his wife, Janell, were driving back to Coeur d'Alene from a business dinner. A mile and a half from the Northwest Boulevard exit on Interstate 90, a drunk driver crashed into them head on.

"Victor realized what was going on and swerved so most of the impact was on his side," says Janell.

The car would roll and end upside down. Janell managed to get free from the wreckage and immediately called 911.

"Victor wasn't responding and there was a lot of blood in the car," says Janell.

For Janell, it's hard for her to make that drive anymore without remembering the crash. Victor, however, doesn't remember anything.

"The only thing that I remember is driving home, listening to Fox news and talking to my wife," says Deleon.

He remembers nothing of the crash, nothing of being in ICU for nearly a week and not even when things were at their worst and doctors brought the family in to say their goodbyes.

"It was something I would never want to go through again," says Janell.

"It was crazy because it was someone in my life that's always there," says Devyn Deleon, Victor's oldest son of three. "So strong and you think they're indestructible, it was just weird."

Blood donations saved Deleon's life. He was given roughly 180 units of blood throughout his time in ICU. The human body can only hold 10 to 12 units. Seeing the importance of donations first hand, Devyn coordinated a two day blood drive at the Coeur d'Alene High School.

"I never realized before hand how important it was," says Devyn. "But after my dad used over 160 unites in the first night, I realized it's a huge deal. I just wanted to get everyone out there to donate so they could save other people's lives."

Today the family gave back, their first step on a long road of paying it forward.

"I'll do it for the rest of my life," says Deleon. "I'll be a big supporter of it, because it saved my life."

The blood drive is happening on Thursday and Friday, December 11th and 12th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the small gym. You need to make an appointment to give blood, just call 800-423-0151.
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