FALLS CHURCH, Va. — What if, after you’ve donated blood, you could find out how it was used?
Some local donors got that rare opportunity to meet the boy whose life they helped save.
They were invited to a special meet-and-greet Wednesday night at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church, Virginia, without being told who they would be meeting or anything about his ordeal.
“This is the first time in over 54 years that we have done something like this,” said Terri Craddock, director of Inova Blood Donor Services.
Tate Reynolds was 11 years old in January 2017 when he was involved in a freak accident at his Purcellville home: He was unintentionally stabbed in his side with a steak knife. The 7- or 8-inch knife was plunged in so deep, only 2 inches were showing outside his body.
“The world screeched to a stop on its axis when Tate looked at me and quietly whispered, ‘Mama, I am so sorry. Mama, my head hurts so bad, and I can’t feel my legs. Mama, I love you. Mama, I think I’m going to die,'” said Reynolds’ mother, Nicole Reynolds.
Tate Reynolds was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital, and in the end, he lost one of kidneys and part of his colon. His aorta was sliced in half. He also had damage to his liver and one of his legs.
But, two years later, the 13-year-old is doing well. “He is OK. He is perfect. A little sassy, but perfect,” Reynolds’ mother said.
Red cells, platelets and plasma from more than 80 people were used to save his life, and about 20 of those donors attended the meet-and-greet.
“Thank you guys for giving, because he wouldn’t have made it,” his mother told the donors. “Had everything not fallen into place as perfectly as it did that night, including your decision to donate blood days (or) weeks before, I wouldn’t be a mother of four today.”
After finally hearing Tate Reynolds’ harrowing story, some of the donors talked about why they gave blood and how they felt about meeting the teenage boy.
“The reason I donated on this particular day … Dec. 30, is because it’s the holidays. It’s Christmas, and a chance to give back,” said Robert S., who always tries to give blood around that time of year.
“I just want to thank you for inviting me here so I could witness this,” Katie Lakin said.
A few years ago, Jim Poole said he found some certificates of achievement from his days as a Boy Scout and decided that he wanted to tackle a new, equally meaningful achievement.
“Somebody said, ‘Well, why don’t you just give blood once a month for the next four years?’ And I thought, you know, I can do that,” he said.
“I honestly feel unworthy even to be here today because I don’t donate as often as I wish I could,” said Torey S. “But, it’s truly an honor to be here. I’m a mother of two children, so your story just made me bawl.”
January is National Blood Donor Month; find information about Inova Blood Donor Services here.