Donated blood saves marathon runner's life after aortic dissection

Benita Zahn
Created: April 20, 2021 08:12 PM

When the pandemic hit, blood donors, like everyone else, stayed home. That has life and death implications for people like Chris and Heidi Underwood.

In July 2019, Chris, 53, was in great shape. He regularly ran, and had completed a half-marathon six weeks earlier. So when he went to work one day, he had no reason to think he wouldn't come home in the afternoon like any other day.

Instead, he left work on a stretcher heading for the hospital.

Chris suffered an aortic dissection. In essence, the main artery to his heart ripped. In three hours' time, he was taken to Saratoga Hospital, airlifted to Albany Med, and underwent lifesaving surgery.

He received 43 units of blood to keep him alive.

From that, a commitment was born to pay it back, sponsoring blood drives.

Chris and Heidi had been blood donors before Chris' ordeal.

Learn more about who originally inspired them to give the gift of life by watching the video of Benita Zahn's story.

MORE INFORMATION: Save a Life Blood Drive

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