Jeannette resident has donated 21 gallons of blood
The average human body has about 1.5 gallons of blood. Jeannette resident Scott Himes has donated that much 14 times over, and he has no intention of stopping.
“I’m going to live to be 100, and I’m going to donate 60 gallons of blood,” he said.
He’s donated 21 gallons so far, one pint at a time, over decades.
He gives because of a car crash 32 years ago that left him clinging to life.
Himes and a friend were on their way to archery lessons in a Jeep in October 1986. They hit a patch of water and lost control. The Jeep tumbled over an embankment.
Himes suffered a skull fracture and a brain injury.
He was in a coma for weeks, and in the hospital for months.
“The doctor says I wasn’t going to live,” he said.
The brain injury left him with almost no control over the left side of his body.
He left the hospital in a wheelchair, but after many sessions of physical therapy learned to walk again.
The experience left him wanting to help others, the same way he was helped.
“Somebody gave to me,” he said. “I’m just paying back.”
The Punxsutawney native moved to Jeannette in the early 1990s to attend the Traumatic Brain Injury rehab center there, now known as Keystone Neuro Rehab.
For a while he was roomates with Sam Davis, the four-time Super Bowl-winning offensive lineman for the Steelers, who was being treated for a brain injury, he said.
Though he’ll live with the effects of the accident the rest of his life, he won’t let them slow him down. He’s a regular weightlifter at the Greensburg YMCA.
Because of his injuries he can’t use his left arm much, so he bench-presses the barbell with one arm — and taunts his fellow gym rats for not keeping up.
“I tease these guys about it,” he said “I just did 10 reps with one arm.”
Casey Kavenaugh, a schoolteacher and coach who works out at the YMCA, said Himes is an inspiration.
“He’s the life of the party down there, and even with some of the younger kids who work out, he tries to mentor them,” he said. “With the problems he’s had, the fact that he works out so diligently, and the pride that he has, it’s really inspirational.”
Himes said he’s been to so many Red Cross blood drives he’s on a first-name basis with most of the workers and other frequent donors.
“It’s like a coffee shop or something like that,” he said.
According to the American Red Cross, one blood donation can save up to three lives. By that metric, Himes could have saved more than 500 people with what he’s donated so far, and he doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
He’s a different person now then he was before the crash, he said. “Physically I was all that, but my heart now is bigger than it was then,” he said. He remembers what a pastor told him once about the crash:
“God saved your life for a reason.”
That’s one of the reasons why he never gives up. The other is he’s just too stubborn.
“It’s too easy to quit,” he said.
Kavenaugh said Himes is an example to others.
“It’s just such a story of perseverance, for someone who had such a terrible thing happen to him, and to keep fighting back,” he said. “We need inspirational stories.”
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter @Soolseem.