During an interview on NBC’s Today Show last June 14, IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe revealed that 22 different individuals had donated blood that helped him survive a horrific crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 18, 2015.
On that show, which coincided with World Blood Donor Day, Hinchcliffe also said that he likely would never meet the donors, most who were anonymous, but that if he ever had a chance, he’d thank them profusely for helping save his life.
Wednesday, the “Mayor of Hinchtown” finally did get that chance, personally thanking two of those individuals who donated blood, as he was also inducted into the American Red Cross Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Indianapolis.
“Those that know me know I’m not often speechless, but that was one of the most incredible things ever,” Hinchcliffe said of the donors’ selflessness, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Hinchcliffe met and thanked 21-year-olds Madelynn Guerra and Madison Mowry, who while high school students, both donated blood just 11 days before Hinchcliffe’s fateful crash while practicing for the 99th Indianapolis 500.
“We say in our spiels about blood donation, we refer to the ‘anonymous donors,’ you know, and it’s crazy to think that, for me, at least, a couple of them are no longer anonymous,” Hinchcliffe said, according to The Star. “To know that, literally, part of them is part of me now is — it’s humbling, it’s crazy.”
Hinchcliffe also received video messages from two other donors, Brodey Casebolt of California and Elmer Dake of Michigan, according to The Star.
Hinchcliffe was critically injured when his car slammed nearly head-on into IMS’s Turn 3 wall at an estimated 200 mph after a part in the front suspension failed.
Another part of the suspension went through both of Hinchcliffe’s legs, leading to massive blood loss. Fortunately, Hinchcliffe was only four miles away from a Level 1 Trauma Unit at IU Health Methodist Hospital, and almost immediately began receiving blood transfusions to replace that which he had lost.
While the average human body holds between nine and 12 units of blood, Hinchcliffe received 22 points of blood in transfusions.
Since recovering and returning behind the wheel of his Indy car with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Hinchcliffe has become a tireless advocate of blood donation, having hosted several blood drives – particularly at IndyCar races – in the last few years since his near-fatal accident, leading to his induction Wednesday.
Hinchcliffe recalled much of what happened in the incident in a 2016 interview with NBC Sports:
Click here for the full Indianapolis Star story about Wednesday’s ceremony.