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Blood recipient shares her story to inspire others to donate

Allison Rizzolo was in a bad crash and needed a blood transfusion from a donor. Now she donates blood and hopes to inspire others to give.

HUTTO, Texas —

An Austin resident is hoping to inspire people to donate blood by sharing her story of how a blood donation saved her life.

Allison Rizzolo said she is lucky to be alive after a horrific rollover crash. 

“It was really dicey for a few hours, you know, whether I was going to survive that experience or not,” Rizzolo said.

On Nov. 17, residents in Central Texas can donate blood and help someone like Rizzolo. KVUE is partnering with We Are Blood for the “Hutto Has Heart” blood drive.  

The We Are Blood center is working to fill the critical need for donations ahead of the holiday season. The center is hoping the drive will encourage those who haven't donated to donate for the first time. 

From a person who was in desperate need of blood to now donating herself, Rizzolo has come a long way since her crash. She wants to share what happened to her to inspire others to give the gift of life.  

“You know, people have experiences that kind of cleave your life in half, right? The before and the after. And this was certainly one of those experiences,” Rizzolo said. “I absolutely would not have made it without that blood donation."

When Rizzolo was on her way to work 19 years ago, she was involved in a road rage incident. She said a car sped up in front of her and cut her off before hitting their breaks. Rizzolo's car crashed into the back of the car in front, and her car flipped five times.   

“I had a very serious injury to my head. And you have so many capillaries in your head, and to my hand as well," she said. 

Her injuries caused her to lose half the blood in her body, and she was unstable when she made it to the hospital. 

"I just lost blood so quickly and so fast. I was, fortunately, able to get to be transported to the hospital very quickly, and they were able to give me that transfusion and enable me to survive," Rizzolo said. 

The recovery from her injuries was long. It took several years for her to start donating blood to help others. 

“I think I'm just so fortunate that I was able to survive and thrive because of that donation that I do want to, you know, just recognize that and give back in a way,” Rizzolo said.

Rizzolo donates at her local We Are Blood donation center. Thursday's blood drive allows residents to have a chance to give back in the same way she does.

“It's incredibly important for us to collect blood donations for patients in need in our community. If a friend, a loved one or neighbor needs a blood transfusion at a hospital here in Central Texas,” said Nick Canedo, We Are Blood's vice president of community engagement. "Serving 10 counties, mobile blood drives are such an important way for us to reach people across Central Texas and allow them to donate blood to benefit their own friends and neighbors.” 

A spokesperson with We Are Blood said every donation can save up to three lives. Rizzolo hopes others will follow her lead and give if they can. 

"I think it's just, giving blood is just a really important and crucial way to support your community and those around you. And it's easy. And I think that everyone should take the opportunity to do it,” Rizzolo said.

Rizzolo said that there is a good chance that everyone's lives have been affected by someone in need of blood. In addition to her own experience, Rizzolo said that she had a friend who died from cancer that needed a blood donation and her father had beneficial blood donations before he later died.

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