Alex Peterson had a bright future ahead of her after graduating from Underwood High School. That was taken away in the blink of an eye when she was hit by oncoming traffic on her way to work on July 23, 2012.
“I nannied for the summer and was on my way to do that. It was about 7:30 in the morning,” Peterson, freshman in agricultural business, said. “I popped a hill and there was a line of cars backed up that I couldn’t see. I hit the last one, which threw me into oncoming traffic and I was T-boned."
“The line of cars stopped, was a line of officers. ... They came back to me and thought I was gone. I didn’t have a heart rate and wasn’t breathing. I was life-flighted to Creighton after that.”
On top of numerous other injuries, Peterson ruptured her spleen, and they had to remove it. During that time she lost over half of her blood: 14 pints.
Because of blood donors, Peterson’s life was saved.
Peterson was in a sedated coma for three or four days. When people came to visit and asked what they could do to help, all her parents could say was, “go donate blood.”
Peterson does not remember a majority of the events that occurred a few weeks before and after the accident. She spent two more weeks at Creighton Medical Center, and was in rehab for about two and a half months.
Because her treatment went into the fall semester, Peterson was not able to fulfill her dream to go to the University of Iowa and start her new and exciting adventure.
“I was in and out of the hospital, and I have a lot of health issues now,” Peterson said. She remembers thinking, “I can’t go four hours away from home, and I know absolutely no one [at Iowa].”
Peterson decided to enroll for the spring semester at Iowa State where she would be closer to her home in Neola, Iowa.
“I need to have people around that know my situation and what happened,” Peterson said. “My boyfriend goes here and all my good friends from home went here, so I am in a lot better place.”
Although she wasn’t able to donate at Iowa State’s Spring Blood Drive because of her blood transfusion, Peterson plans to donate in the future.
"[Blood Drives] mean a lot more to me than they ever did. I’ve actually never donated before,” Peterson said. “You never think that you’ll be put in that position where you’ll need it."
“I didn’t like needles and just had the typical excuses, but ... if it weren’t for [donors] I wouldn’t have made it. It just shows how really important it is.”
Peterson remembers her boyfriend saying after all she went through, donating was the least he could do to help someone else in the same situation.
Many ISU students find value in being a part of the ISU Blood Drive each semester.
“I really value life, I guess, or being able to donate something of my own to help people,” said Mary Horton, junior in biology.
Ashley Kruger, senior in construction engineering, has donated before but was deferred this year. Instead she is working as a volunteer.
“This is my way of making sure that I’m still helping with the blood drive,” Kruger said. “I just want to be able to help out a little bit instead of sitting by and just watching it happen.”
Abby Hausmann-Virgil, director of Recruitment for LifeServe Blood Center, enjoys seeing all the students that come to donate at Iowa State’s Blood Drive.
“There are people every day that are waiting for that blood. … The blood that you donate here will go to a hospital patient, and it will save their life.” Hausmann-Virgil said. “You don't get to say every day that you saved someone’s life, and it took an hour of your time.”