In February 1967, WCYK morning radio personality Steven Walker was just 16-years-old and working as a paperboy in Pennsylvania. One morning, while Steven was delivering papers on his usual route, he was struck broadside by an oncoming vehicle.
Instantly he was thrown from his motorcycle, landing in a raspberry patch across the road. The force of the accident ruptured Steven’s spleen and one of his kidneys, and crushed his leg from shin to ankle. His arm was torn off and wrapped up in a knot in the sleeve of his jacket. In addition, he was bleeding internally, a fact that would have killed him if not for the temperature outside that morning. “Luckily it was very cold, and the cold is what kept me from bleeding to death,” said Steven. He lay in the raspberry patch where his body came to rest for nearly 45 minutes before help would arrive.
When he finally reached the hospital the severity of his situation forced the doctors to begin operating immediately, including a procedure that had to be done on his ankle, in the hallway, without the use of an anesthetic. He was then wheeled into the operating room for the surgeries on his spleen and kidney. Because of the severity of his trauma, Steven lost a lot of blood. During his surgery he required several units just to keep him alive. Waking up three days later, Steven was greeted by medical staff who seemed surprised that he had become conscious. While being told of the immense trauma his body had suffered, Steven looked up to see his arm, positioned in a sling above, completely blue in color. The staff was reluctant to reset the arm due to Steven’s overall condition. “They didn’t think I was going to live,” said Steven.
A long period of recovery after the accident would take Steven well into his junior year of high school. Once his recovery was complete he began thinking about giving back by giving blood. “For years after I wanted to give blood, but my mother, being the doctor she’s not, told me that I couldn’t because my spleen had been removed,” said Steven.
Later in his early radio career, he began doing public service announcements promoting blood drives and the importance of regular blood donation. This prompted Steven to inquire further about his ability to donate. “I walked in and told the nurse about my situation, but she said I was still eligible to donate, so I started giving blood.”
Since his first donation, Steven has become a regular blood donor. His frequent blood donations helped him become a blood services committee member for his 96 donations through aphaeresis for platelets, plasma and red cells. By the time he moved to Virginia, Steven had already given 17 gallons of blood. “The accident inspired me to become a blood donor,” said Steven. Because of his personal experiences he encourages his children to donate and believes everyone should want to donate blood. Regarding those who have not donated, Steven says, “try it, you are a sales person for life.” Steven also believes that current donors have a responsibility to recruit new donors and “sell the importance of giving blood.”
From recipient to donor, Steven Walker has experienced all the elements of blood donation. He has an understanding of the process and its importance. He feels strongly about the effect people can have by taking the time to make a donation. “You’ve got to appreciate the feeling you get after giving blood; you’re saving someone’s life and it might not even be someone you know, but it could be,” said Steven.