Megan Picinich Nicholasville, Kentucky

Car Accident Puts Blood Donation in Perspective for Nicholasville Woman

Megan Picinich at UK Hospital after a serious car accident in Nicholasville.

June 8, 2023

One moment Megan Picinich was in the car with her friends being a normal 16-year-old. The next, she was waking up in a hospital room restrained to a bed wondering where she was and why she had missed Thanksgiving.

On March 17, 2018, Megan and her friends were involved in a car accident on Union Mill Road in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Coming around a curve, the driver overcorrected on a dark, rainy night and lost control of the vehicle. The car crashed into an old and unforgiving tree on the side of the road, totaling the vehicle and doing significant harm to the passengers inside.

Megan’s best friend, Aubrey Howard, took the brunt of the impact. She died in the moments after the accident at 15 years old. Megan, sitting in the backseat next to Aubrey, suffered life-threatening injuries.

"When we hit, my head hit the seat in front of me, came back and hit it again,” Megan said. “The seatbelt obviously locked up. Since I’m relatively small, it did more harm than good for me because it crushed my sacrum. I fractured most of the bones in my back. When I hit the seat, that caused a bleed, a traumatic brain injury.”

Megan was immediately transported to UK Hospital to undergo lifesaving measures. She fell into a coma and then medically kept in one because of significant swelling in her brain. She received blood transfusions from internal bleeding.

More than a year later, when Megan thought she was well on her way to putting the accident behind her, she received two more blood transfusions when an artery was nicked in her stomach during her last major angiogram.

'I know how important it is'

Now a senior at the University of Kentucky with dreams of going into the medical field, Megan admits she had never thought about giving blood prior to the wreck.

“I remember they used to do blood drives at my high school prior to my accident, and I was like, there’s no way I could ever donate blood,” Megan said. “I’m so terrified of needles, but you go through an accident like that and you realize it’s not a big deal. The next blood drive we had, I was like, I’m doing that. I want to be there. I want to sign up. I know how important that is.”

Giving Back in Aubrey's Honor

Megan Picinich recovered from a car wreck during her sophomore year and went on to graduate from East Jessamine High School.

At the time, Megan was not unlike most teenagers at that age in her life – a sophomore at East Jessamine High School. Then, she became the one in four who will need a blood transfusion in their lifetime.

“It’s sad sometimes that you have to have that push, but it definitely did help me to see how important it is, and it definitely motivated me to donate blood and get over my fear of needles,” Megan said. “You never know when you’re going to need it, when someone you love is going to need it or whose life you’re going to change.”

Megan is now a frequent donor and an advocate for blood donation. She was obviously motivated by the personal trauma she endured five years ago, but her friend Aubrey is on her mind every time she gives.

In 2021, on the three-year anniversary of the accident, Megan donated blood in honor of Aubrey.

“What if one day her little sister needs blood or her parents need blood?” Megan said. “I have to do things in a way that I know she would want me to do. I think about what she would do if the roles were reversed, and she was still here and I was not. I just kind of live how she would want me to live and how she would live if she was here.”

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About Kentucky Blood Center

Celebrating 55 years of saving lives in Kentucky, KBC is the largest independent, full-service, nonprofit blood center in Kentucky. Licensed by the FDA, KBC’s sole purpose is to collect, process and distribute blood for patients in Kentucky. KBC provides services in 90 Kentucky counties and has donor centers in Lexington, Louisville, Frankfort, Pikeville, Somerset and the Tri-County area.