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Release of Likeness

From life-threatening tragedy, Paul Hartmann and his family learned a critical life lesson: when presented with great challenges, you have to respond with great effort. Now Paul advocates for the cause of blood donation and gives back—feeling privileged to be a blood donor and help save the lives of others in need.

Tragedy often provides an opportunity to learn some of life’s most valuable lessons. For Paul Hartmann and his family, they came face-to-face with just such a moment over 20 years ago when Paul sustained a paralyzing spinal-cord injury in an accident that almost took his life.

With his young family gathered to enjoy a long Labor Day weekend together, Paul was working on a steep hill on their property when the brakes on the tractor he had rented failed. Thrown to the ground in the path of the tractor, he sustained life-threatening injuries—including a ruptured aorta—when the tractor rolled over him.

“A helicopter ambulance landed near our driveway to evacuate me to the nearest Level I Trauma Center where they had six units of blood ready to give me immediately—even before they could perform surgery,” Paul recalled. “I’d lost so much blood as a result of my injuries, the doctors told my wife, Renee, that she should be prepared to go home alone. I wasn’t expected to make it through the night. But I did survive, and many prayers were answered.”

During the first 24 hours alone, Paul received 96 units of blood products that help saved his life. And after a 25-day stay in the Intensive Care Unit, he and his family began the long and arduous road to recovery.

“We learned a critical life-lesson from our experience that day and, really, over all those days and months that followed,” Paul said. “We know that when presented with great challenges, you have to prayerfully respond with great effort. And now we live every day with gratitude for all the generous blood donors who helped me survive and we try to give back in every way we can to help save the lives of others in need.”

Paul has been an Ambassador for Memorial Blood Centers and an advocate for the cause of blood donation for over a decade and recently has become a blood donor, giving blood as often as he can. “I feel privileged being able to donate blood after receiving the life-saving donations from so many donors over 20 years ago. Even though you don’t typically hear about how a specific person benefited from your donation, there really are few actions—like blood donation—that are so selfless and so directly impact the life of another.”

Find out more about how you can help save the lives of infants, children, and adults through blood donation. Learn more at About Blood.