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Once pronounced dead after a skydiving accident, a Vitalant employee is living proof about the importance of giving blood

Sean Williams
Donor care specialist Sean Williams works in Vitalant's San Luis Obispo office. (Evan Vega/KEYT)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Sean Williams is living proof that giving blood is a lifesaver. In 2008, Williams nearly died following a skydiving accident in Southern California.

"Without a doubt, I wouldn't be here," said Williams. "?There's absolutely no way. I would have bled to death in the operating room."

Williams is sharing his story just ahead of Vitalant's Third Annual Day of Service Blood Drive in order to let people know just how important it is to give blood.

Williams is thankful for blood donation. He needed a lot it after his accident. In fact, he received 48 units of blood over the course of several surgeries.

"I broke a lot of stuff," said Williams. "I broke my femur. I broke my back. I broke my pelvis, tib fib, a few internal organs. I was pretty mangled."

His injuries were so severe, he was hospitalized for weeks, and more than once, he was pronounced dead.

"I flatlined three times," said Williams. "They had me opened up and had my organs over here and my skeleton, and I would die, and they would stop, and pump me with saline and blood and get my heart going again, and I would die. They told my mom I wouldn't make it."

However, he beat all odds and survived. Not only that, after months of grueling rehabilitation, Williams actually went skydiving less than a year after his accident.

"That was a very long road," said Williams. "The road to recovery was tough. I lost a lot of weight and muscle tone. Injuries hurt and working out is hard, and no matter what, you still gotta do it, even though it hurts, you still gotta do it, or you're not going to be able to function."

Now, 13 years later after the accident the San Luis Obispo resident works for Vitalant, and is not only inspiring others with his story, he's helping make sure other people who are need of blood have access to the precious gift.

"I love my job," said Williams. "How many people can say they get up in the morning and say, I love to go to work? I love to come to work. "It's kind of my calling. It sounds silly and it sounds corny, but it's not. Everything happens for a reason, and this is where I belong."

Williams is hoping his story will motivate community members help boost critically low blood supplies during the upcoming Day of Service Blood Drive.

"It's the easiest thing that you can do to help another human being," said Williams. "It doesn't cost you anything. It's not hard. It barely hurts. Pretty much everybody can do it as long as they meet the health criteria, they can do it. Come donate blood, y'all!!"

The Day of Service Blood Drive is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 17 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Vitalant offices in San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.

To make a reservation to donate, or for more information on the blood drive, click here. You can also call 877-258-4825.

For more on Williams and his incredible story of survival, please watch NewsChannel 3-12 tonight at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.

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