Saturday, October 25, 2014

Student’s story urges others to give

Liberty senior Jessica Grigg’s life was saved after a skiing accident by the generosity of blood donors

The human body contains 10 pints of blood. After receiving nine of those 10 pints through a blood transfusion after a skiing accident, Liberty senior Jessica Grigg understands how precious those 10 pints can be.

Every drop counts — After having 90 percent of her body’s blood supply replaced, Liberty senior Jessica Grigg has become an avid blood donor and advocate of giving. Photo credit: Alyssa Bockman

Only nine years ago, Jan. 20, 2003, Grigg went skiing with a few of her friends. However, what started off as a normal day soon became a day that would impact Grigg forever.

“That evening, just as we were about to leave, we made a decision to make one last run down one of the slopes,” Grigg said. “I remember feeling somewhat apprehensive but going anyway.”

That is the last memory Grigg has of the near fatal accident. The next memory she had was waking up in a hospital bed and talking to her father.

“My dad proceeded to tell me that I had skied into a snow groomer that was being brought up the slope,” Grigg said. “I was in a state of disbelief and shock.”

Grigg remembers the throb of pain coming from her head and the request she made to her father to remove the braids she had the day of the accident.

“This was when he told me the worst of it,” Grigg said. “He said I had no braids and that it was staples.”

Grigg suffered a frontal lobe injury of the brain, 13 broken bones and a collapsed lung. Grigg lost nine pints of blood over the course of the event. She would have died without the nine pints she received through blood donation.

Over the last nine years, Grigg has undergone more then 1,000 physical, occupational and speech therapies.

“As a result of all that I have been through, last year I decided to give blood for the first time and have done so multiple times since,” Grigg said. “It is rewarding to know I can give back to honor those who helped to save my life.”

According to the Virginia Blood Services, more than 4.5 million people need a blood transfusion in the United States and Canada annually.

Patients need blood every two seconds. Without the help of blood donors none of this could be possible. According to America’s Blood Centers, one pint of blood could potentially save up to three lives.

“At 17, my life was forever changed,” Grigg said. “Without the donations of others, I might not be here today and be able to receive the second chance at life that I have been given.”

Currently, Grigg is looking forward to graduating with her undergraduate degree in Communication Studies from Liberty University on May 12, as well as continuing her life as if the accident never happened.

Liberty University offers students the opportunity to donate blood on campus. The next blood drive will take place at the Tolsma Indoor Track Complex at Green Hall on March 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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