Blood donations are needed for many different reasons, from those in the hospital for minor surgery to those who get into a life-altering accident and may die without it. That was the case for the Chandler Family back in October of 2019.

“You don’t realize how fragile life is until you have an accident,” Erick Chandler said. “I had a horse roll on me, and my saddle horn actually impaled my inner thigh.”

“My father was there with him and quickly applied a tourniquet as we called 911 and got help,” his wife Lea Ann Chandler said.

Lea Ann said she was inside their house when it happened.

“It was shocking to see that much blood there and realizing just that he was minutes away from life or death,” Lea Ann said.

She said she stood there, looking at her husband, feeling helpless.

“Just knowing that your faith is all you have,” she said. “There is nothing that you can do except try to keep him calm and alert.”

“I laid there in my own pasture 100 yards from my house,” Erick said. “Looking at the sky, wondering if I was going to make it and if I didn’t, who was going to take care of my family. That was tough.”

Erick was flown to a hospital in Oklahoma City, where they didn’t know if he or his leg was going to make it. Thankfully he pulled through, but he ended up needing 24 units of blood and plasma.

“It took 24 people to take time out of their life, to come down, and say ‘ you know what? somebody else’s life is important as well.’ My family, myself, we are truly grateful for the sacrifice that they make,” Erick said.

“They were able to give us a report of where all his blood donation had come from,” she said. “I was really interesting to see of these 24 donors, they came from all over the state, but they also came from here locally.”

Following the accident, the couple adding their names to the list of people who gave to help others who may find themselves in a similar situation.

“It’s interesting to see how all blood comes together,” Lea Ann said. “How all those gifts come together to save lives. It’s not hard. It takes about 15-20 minutes just to sit down and donate blood. Plasma takes a little bit longer, but you’re truly giving the gift of life.”

Erick and Lea Ann are huge advocates and ask others to donate because you never know whose life you’re going to save.

“I think when you have a personal story, you’re more motivated, and you’ve seen how that 20 minutes of your day every three months affects others,” Lea Ann said.

If you’d like to donate blood, you can visit your local Oklahoma Blood Institute or find where a mobile blood drive is being hosted.