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Orlando, Florida

Each year trauma accounts for more than 40 million emergency department visits nationwide. Breanna MacMahon was one of them.

In the fall of 2009, she was helping wash cars at a fundraiser when a car accidently accelerated and struck her. “I remember her facial expression when she was hit. I remember her disappearing as she hit the ground,” said Breanna’s mother, Katheleen McMahon.


“I knew it was pretty bad but I didn’t know to what extent,” said Breanna McMahon. She spent the next six days in a drug induced coma. “I was really afraid for her and had no idea after the amputation how we were ever going to tell her.”

When she woke up, her parents delivered the heart breaking news—her leg had been amputated. “I was like okay when can I get back out there, when can I start running again, what can I do?” said Breanna.

With her mind set on running again, she spent weeks in the hospital undergoing twelve surgeries and several blood transfusions. “Her body, the doctors told us, was so tired of producing red blood cells. And she was becoming very anemic and very weak, and they gave her several pints of blood. Within hours she was perked up and happier.”.

Only seven percent of people have O-negative blood, the universal blood type, and it is critical for trauma units to have it on the shelves for patients like Breanna. “If we didn’t have blood products, she probably would have expired. I mean blood can be lifesaving and sometimes the child or teenager has lost so much blood that the only way we can save them is to give them transfusions,” said Dr. Mark Clark, Medical Director at Orlando Health.

“I would be on a ball still crying and here she is saying 'I’m going to go forward, I’m going to run, I’m going to try, and I’m not going to let anything stop me',” said Katheleen McMahon.

With the support of her family, the help of the level one trauma unit in Orlando and the gift of life from blood donors, Breanna is back on the soccer field. She is currently coaching the varsity soccer team at Brevard College in North Carolina

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