The last thing Katie Pohler remembers from June 28 is pedaling her bike down Route 450 South in the bike lane, heading to the Waterfront in Annapolis with her boyfriend. But then, it all goes black.
Katie and her boyfriend, Todd Green, were both hit from behind by an impaired driver, and had to be flown to the R Adams Crowley Shock Trauma Center.
While Todd was released that night, Katie spent nearly three weeks in Shock Trauma, undergoing multiple surgeries and recovering from her extensive list of injures. She broke her left leg and arm, and her right hand, collarbone and shoulder, and her trachea was crushed, among other injuries.
During her stay in Shock Trauma, Katie, 23, received multiple blood transfusions while fighting for her life, which is why her friends and family have decided to organize a blood drive in her honor.
“Having had a transfusion, I understand the importance of donating blood to save lives. I am going to give blood any chance I get,” Katie says.
Coming up with the idea for the drive was Katie’s neighbor and family friend, Candy McCann Fontz. Fontz, who has hosted blood drives before, felt this was a perfect way to support the family during such a trying time and help others.
“I know the power of what my donation does because I have seen it,” Fontz says of why blood drives are so important.
When Fontz brought the idea up to Katie and her family, it was unanimous that this was a perfect way to honor Katie’s recovery.
“I feel wonderful about doing this blood drive because I want to give back. Everybody helped Katie and so I want to be able to help others.” Donna Pohler, Katie’s mother, says.
The blood drive will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Glen Burnie Improvement Association, located at 19 S. Crain Highway, Glen Burnie. To schedule an appointment, head to www.redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code GBIA.
“It’s about giving back and educating people on why it is important to donate,” Donna says.
According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood and more than 41,000 blood donations are required every day. The need for blood can be for emergency cases or for patients with conditions that require multiple transfusions, such as cancer patients going through chemotherapy or patients diagnosed with sickle cell disease.
Katie is currently going to physical therapy three times a week, and getting stronger every day. Her recovery process will be a long road, and some injuries will have more lasting effects than others.
“I just had vocal cord surgery and my voice is a lot different from what it used to be, but I am just thankful to have a voice at all,” Katie says.
Katie’s stay at Shock Trauma saved her life, and she says she is grateful to all the doctors and nurses who helped aid in her recovery, and to those who have taken the time to donate blood.
“I just can’t stress it enough how important it is to give blood,” Katie says. “You never expect that one day you are going to be in that situation where you need it.”
For more information on the blood drive, head online to the event’s Facebook page set up or call the Red Cross directly at 1-800-733-2767 to set up an appointment.