“Life happens,” is the way Kettering donor Kevin Fred explains the circumstances that prevented him from keeping his May 2 appointment to make his milestone 100th lifetime blood donation. A car pulled into the path of his Harley-Davidson motorcycle on April 4, destroying the bike and nearly taking his life. Despite two broken hands, he rebuilt the Harley and rode it. The next day, Friday, May 29, he continued rebuilding his life with his 100th donation at the Dayton Community Blood Center.
“I was a mess,” said Kevin as he routinely finished his milestone donation. “A guy pulled out in front of me and the last thing I remember was thinking ‘I’m not going to stop in time. Then I was ejected into the passenger window.”
He suffered compressed vertebrae and a concussion, injuries to his face, fractures in both hands, and a torn tendon in his leg. He was shivering in shock when transported to Kettering Medical Center. His prized 1999 Harley-Davidson Night Train was in ruins. “I’ve been riding for 43 years and other than hitting trees on my dirt bike when I was kid, it was my first accident.”
It happened on a sunny Saturday afternoon as he was headed home to let his dog out. That was still first on his mind as he called a friend to give him a ride home from the hospital so he could care for his pet. Since then he’s had two surgeries and expects “more down the road.” His employer, Vantiv, Inc. a technology and payment processing company in Cincinnati, is allowing him to work from home on his computer.
He continues to work through pain, even when rebuilding his motorcycle. His nose still feels like it is broken. He can hardly hold a bar of soap or cup water in his hands to wash his face. He did not need a blood transfusion when he was treated for his injuries, but his commitment to donating blood remains just as steady.
“I started when I was in basic training,” he said. “They said, ‘Everybody who donates blood can get a free cigarette!’ and my arm shot up! But I kept doing it and I try to get in every eight weeks.”
After his milestone donation Kevin tried on his new CBC “Donor for Life – 100 LTD” jacket and noted that his normal size medium fits loosely now because he has lost 20 pounds since the accident.
Remaining a “Donor for Life” is one way Kevin is regaining his life. “As best I can,” he said. “I want to get back to functioning where I was. It’s going to be a long road.”