It took 187 pints to save this man’s life

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Cody Hermeling was hit by a reckless driver in September 2010. Now blind as a result of the crash, he talks to KOIN 6 News Aug. 31, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A blood drive was held Saturday to honor a bar owner’s son who survived substantial blood loss after a 2010 crash.

Cody Hermeling was hit by a reckless driver in September 2010. Twenty-six-years old at the time, he needed 187 pints of blood after firefighters extricated him from his car on Highway 30.

Cody’s father owns Yur’s Bar & Grill at 717 NW 16th Ave. in Portland. Now, every year, Yur’s hosts a mobile-unit blood drive.

“I just really feel it’s really important to have blood donations,” Hermeling told KOIN 6 News. The accident left him blind and, due to his surgeries, unable to give blood.

But that hasn’t stop Hermeling’s drive. The event also raises support for gay men to give blood. The act of giving blood by “men who have sex with other men” is currently banned by the FDA.

“I know a good 10 or 15 gay men that would be here today, right now, giving blood, but they’re not allowed to,” Hermeling said. “And it’s ridiculous — it’s absolutely ridiculous — that we need more blood all the time and we’re excluding so many people that would be more than willing to give blood .”

In July, a grassroots effort organized by documentary film director Ryan James Yezak kicked off with gay men attempting to give blood at donation centers across the nation. A Portland demonstration took place at the American Red Cross Donation Center on North Vancouver Avenue.

Both efforts come following a Red Cross announcement that blood and platelet donors of all blood types are needed. In June, 50,000 fewer donations were made than expected.

“The FDA is responsible for determining donor eligibility requirements and the Red Cross is required to follow their decisions,” according to a Red Cross statement addressing this issue on its website. “…We will continue to work through the AABB (American Association of Blood Banks) to press for donor deferral policies that are fair and consistent and based on scientific evidence, while still protecting patients from potential harm.”

Hermeling believes the need, and advances in technology, is so great that blood should be able to be screened to assure its safety.

“Needless to say, I definitely wouldn’t be here without the blood that I received,” Hermeling said. “…The human body only holds six to 10 units, and that pretty much speaks for itself. Anybody that gives blood today is only able to give one unit at a time.”

In short, it essentially took 187 people giving donations to save his life.

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