Crash survivor makes first blood donation since traumatic injury

Less than a year after he lost his leg in a motorcycle crash, Nathan Olson told us about returning to donate blood

March 19, 2021
A man with a prosthetic leg sits on a bench outdoors.

On Apr. 13, 2020, Nathan Olson lost his leg in a motorcycle crash near his home in Nanaimo, B.C. He later shared his story to thank and inspire blood donors, before returning to make his first blood donation since the crash on Mar. 4, 2021.

Well, after almost a year I got back in the swing of donating. We O-negative guys have a civic duty to keep the supplies topped up! Between the operations after the crash and my time in hospital, I have received more than 40 units of blood, so it was important to me to give again when I could.

It was actually kind of a spontaneous decision to go when I did. After my accident, a friend of mine set up a page on Facebook for people to support me, and my pastor recently posted there to say he’d donated blood. He was kind of challenging others to give it a try. He didn’t expect me to be next, but I thought, why not? So I called Canadian Blood Services, and it turned out they were able to fit me in that same day because of some cancellations.

A man with a prosthetic leg donates blood in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

On Mar. 4, 2021, Nathan Olson made his first blood donation since losing his left leg in a motorcycle crash in April 2020.

Before I lost my leg I had been a regular donor, knowing that the O-negative blood type is so important, especially in emergencies. The last obstacle to going back was the medications I was taking during my recovery. Now that I’ve stopped those medications I’m eligible to donate again.

Am I eligible to donate blood?

Learn more about blood type, including the importance of O-negative blood

I had to rush a bit to get to the donor centre but the appointment went well. With COVID-19 and being stuck in the house, any reason to get out is great! The staff there remembered my story so I felt like a little bit of a celebrity. I was quite happy to be there, and after all the needles I’ve had in the hospital, getting a needle for blood donation is like nothing.

I actually drove the car myself to the appointment. Since my right leg is intact it’s no problem to drive. Over the last few weeks I’ve also been adjusting to my new prosthetic leg. To other people I think I must look like a toddler learning to walk. They must be thinking, he’s going to fall! But I haven’t fallen yet. I will say stairs are challenging. I can only do one step at a time now. It’s right foot first, then swing the prosthetic up.

It’s different to be giving blood after receiving it. I know blood saves lives because it saved mine. And even though I don’t have a memory of the crash or the operations right afterward, I do remember receiving blood in the hospital later. Like when I was so tired and weak with low hemoglobin, and how much better I felt after a transfusion. It’s lifesaving. Life-improving. Life-changing.

When you donate blood, you can help patients who have had traumatic injuries as well as those with serious illness. Each donor is tested as part of the donation process to identify their blood type. To book, visit or download the GiveBlood app.

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