CINCINNATI — Noah Stepaniak, a Rumpke driver who was hit and badly hurt by a suspected drunk driver in October, worked Saturday to give back to the Hoxworth Blood Center after blood transfusions helped safe his life.
Stepaniak and his fiancee, Kate Reverman, held a blood drive as a way to give back; he relied heavily on blood donations to survive his 26-day stay at the hospital after the crash.
"He was very, very, very close to bleeding out," said Reverman. "He lost a lot of blood."
With internal bleeding and a severed artery in his leg, Reverman said, doctors told her Stepaniak wasn't expected to survive.
"When he first came in to UC, they had to give him a lot of blood," said Reverman. "Then he had over 10 surgeries."
The crash caused serious injuries for Stepaniak, and doctors had to amputate his left leg above the knee. But he said he's just thankful he's still here to talk about it.
"Next step is to learn how to walk with a prosthetic leg," he said. "I am currently doing that as we speak, standing here without any crutches. Which is amazing."
The couple decided to hold a blood drive for Hoxworth Blood Center as a way to say thank you to the group that helped make his survival possible.
Cara Nicolas, associate public information officer at Hoxworth, said Stepaniak is a real-life example of how important blood donations can be. She said the many transfusions that helped save his life were possible only because of multiple blood donations.
"My goal is to be able to ... walk down the aisle," said Stepaniak. "Just to be able to walk down the aisle, get married."
The couple plan to be married in May. Their goal Saturday was to inspire 50 people to come out and donate blood. When WCPO spoke with them, they'd already hit 87 donations.