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April 13, 2023
With all that Lucas Cannon has been through following a horrific farming accident when he was just a teenager – given just a 1-2% chance of survival and losing the entirety of his right leg – it’s a refreshing education in humility to hear him describe the responsibility he believes he owes to replenish the blood supply after using more than 150 units to preserve his life.
“That’s an incredible amount,” Lucas said. “Using that many units in that short span, it has to take a toll on the blood center.”
Lucas pointed to routine surgeries, cancer patients, organ transplants and other traumas that require blood on an everyday basis. The need for blood is constant, and it’s not lost on Lucas nearly 15 years removed from the life-changing trauma.
When, in 2009, Lucas accidentally knocked the family tractor into gear, throwing him to the ground and ultimately underneath the eight-ton four-wheeler – shattering half his pelvis and his right leg – it altered Lucas’ life, but it didn’t stop him.
“If it wasn’t for the selfless act of donating blood, I wouldn’t be here,” Lucas said. “I used so much of it, I don’t have my original blood in my body. I’m made up of however many people donated. It’s not mine anymore. It’s these other people who were kind enough to take a few minutes to save my life.”
At 30 years old, Lucas is thriving. He graduated high school less than two years after the accident, went off to college at Northern Kentucky University, competed all over the country for six years in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, and is now working at the nationally renowned Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Countless harrowing surgeries and a brutal recovery process wouldn’t get in the way of an unbelievably determined young man. Sure, the loss of a limb was a devastating blow for a teenager with dreams and aspirations of basketball and veterinary school. But as Lucas laid in the Fleming County farm that day waiting for his parents and an airlift to University of Kentucky Hospital, he promised God he would do whatever he could to repay Him to stay alive.
When Lucas awoke nearly two weeks later, he knew his life was going to be different, but he has wasted few seconds since sulking about his new reality.
“As weird as it sounds, I don’t think I would change anything,” Lucas said. “I think I’m a much better person going through what I went through. I am as successful as I thought I would be at 16 years old. Nothing’s held me back.”
In his mission to pay back the blood he used, Lucas became a regular blood donor at Kentucky Blood Center before transitioning to Hoxworth Blood Center in Cincinnati near his residence in Northern Kentucky.
After everything that happened, it makes Lucas laugh that he was once afraid of needles.
“It brings me joy to be able to have the ability to do that (donate) for somebody else,” Lucas said. “It brings me so much joy when I sit on the table and donate.”
With the accident at the midpoint of his current life, he feels like his journey has come full circle. From an able-bodied teenager who would have never thought about giving blood, to the young man whose purpose now is to give back, Lucas is running with a second chance at life.
“I don’t think there’s been a single thing that I’ve looked at and said, ‘I can’t do that,’ ” Lucas said. “It’s more, ‘How am I going to do that now?’ ... I had the original Lucas and the Lucas we know now. I know both sides equally, and I’m excited to see what’s next. If this half was as good as it’s been, what’s the next 15 years? I’m really excited.”
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