DE PERE (NBC 26) — Jason Pansier, Glenmore, spends the day working on his family's dairy farm in De Pere. He climbs into the green John Deere tractor, placing one foot in front of his prosthetic leg as he walks up the steps.
Doctors amputated Pansier's left leg about six years ago after a serious farming accident. Pansier was building a manure pit when the 40,000 pound tractor he was driving flipped over and pinned him inside. The weight crushed Pansier's pelvis.
"I figured if I didn't get out of the tractor soon - because I was in there for two hours, pinned, and I was conscious the whole while - so I figured if they didn't get me out soon, I could tell I was going to bleed out," Pansier said.
Fire crews eventually freed Pansier and brought him to a hospital in Aurora. He was later flown on a helicopter to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.
"They had so much blood on the floor in the helicopter," Pansier said. "It was like, a few inches of blood just on the floor from all the blood I was going through."
Pansier said medical staff put him in a medically induced coma. It took 300 units of blood to save Pansier's life.
He remained in the hospital for a few months. Pansier recalls having over 30 surgeries in the first month alone. He went home with six drain tubes to remove infection from his body.
"I was like a skeleton. You're not eating for so many months. It took a long time," Pansier said. "My fiance helped me get back together with the recovery and stuff. She did all the therapy."
Pansier said he started to feel normal again after a year and still continues therapy to help him walk with a prosthetic leg. He continues work on the farm and a captain with the Ledgeview Fire Department.
Since his accident, Pansier has worked with the Red Cross to host two blood drives every year. The next one will be from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 26 at Glenmore Community Center, 5718 Dickinson Rd.
As the American Red Cross faces an emergency blood shortage, Pansier encourages people to donate blood.
"I don't think people realize how much a simple unit of blood helps. I mean, there's people that need it for everything," Pansier said. "You never know when maybe your child or loved one might need it tomorrow, or today, or even five minutes after they get off the phone. I mean, you could actually essentially be saving yourself and you might not even know it."
The Red Cross said the current blood supply is the lowest they've seen this time of year in more than a decade. At least 10,000 more donations are needed each week in the coming weeks to meet needs ahead of the upcoming holiday season, which is typically a slower time for blood collection.
"Usually autumn, this is the time of year when we kind of refill, restock the blood supply, " said Justin Kern, communications director for the American Red Cross of Wisconsin. "And unfortunately, because of COVID and a few other things, we haven't seen that replenishing like we typically do."
Kern said there are concerns over what the blood supply could look like this winter into 2022 if more donations don't come in this fall.
The American Red Cross is responsible for 40% of the nation's blood supply. Someone in the U.S. needs blood or platelets every two seconds, according to the Red Cross. One blood donation has the potential to save three people's lives.
"When you make a donation, you have that awesome power to help someone right up the street, like Jason, or someone around the other side of the country, which is an amazing way to give back, whether it be locally or at the national level," Kern said.
People can find a blood donation site or drive near them here.