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Recipient Family Gives Back Following Massive Transfusions

by Claire DeRoin

July 26, 2004 is forever burned into Teresa Buns’s mind. Her daughters were driving on a gravel road when every parent’s worst nightmare happened.

Kylie Buns, only two at the time, was in the car with her 17 year old sister Danielle when they collided with another vehicle head on. “We were lucky enough that we actually hit a nurse at the end of her shift,” Kylie said. “She managed to get me out because I was crying. She knew that I was alive. Nobody thought at the scene that my sister was alive until they heard a moan. She was completely compacted into the vehicle.”

Little Kylie suffered a traumatic brain injury and required five units of blood.

“I had exposed brain. My skull cap was gone,” Kylie said. “I was life-flighted from the scene to Mason and then life-flighted to Mayo in Rochester. We were up in Mayo for a long time.”

Danielle’s injuries were extensive. She had a broken femur, broken back, a traumatic brain injury, as well as internal injuries. “In the first 14 days after the accident, she had 23 surgeries.  Many were small,” Teresa explained. “Others were setting bones, skin grafts or facial reconstruction.” Danielle received more than 30 units of blood during the various procedures and surgeries. “She was in Rochester for three months but was seen there for over a year and had more surgeries,” Teresa said.

The family is quick to thank the blood donors whose lifesaving gift ensured the girls survived their critical time of need. Kylie has three metal plates in her head today and does still suffer headaches especially in the winter, but considers herself lucky. “We’ve had a case study done on us because neither one of us should have made it whatsoever,” she said. “We should have… not made it out of the scene.”

Today donating blood is a family affair. Teresa has given more than four gallons in honor of those who saved her daughters. “This is the reason I give blood as often as I can. Without the blood donations my girls received, they would not be here,” Teresa said. “Many thanks to those who donated then. Me donating is the least I can do to give back.”

Kylie is already at the half gallon mark, a hefty total for her age. “I just want to give back to say thank you for donating to me.”