What 25 Units of Blood Can Do

While many donors to the Homecoming blood drive participate simply to help out, Nicole Webber’s motivation is personal.

Story by Sarah Sabatke

Nicole Webber stands between her mother and father.
Nicole Webber, center, poses for a photo with her mother, Tori Krysl Webber, and father, Chris, at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, in August 2016. Tori graduated from Mizzou in 1989 with a bachelor of science in education. Photo courtesy Nicole Webber

In 2007, when Nicole Webber was in the fourth grade, she and her family attended the Fourth of July parade in Laddonia, Missouri. Her dad, Chris, was riding a horse in the parade. 

Everything was fine until the horse’s hind legs lost their footing on the gravel and pavement. The animal fell onto its back. Chris, his feet stuck in the stirrups, couldn’t get out in time. The entire weight of the horse landed on his leg.

When the horse landed, it snapped Chris’ leg — and his main artery. Young Nicole witnessed the entire ordeal.

“Just knowing that it took them three days just to keep him alive because … if he would have lost any more blood, he would have died — that’s when I started really getting passionate and learning more about how important blood is,” says Nicole, now a junior at Mizzou majoring in agribusiness. 

Using 25 units of donated blood, doctors were able to save Chris’ life but not his leg. They amputated it above the knee.

A few members of the MU Homecoming Steering Committee created a video with Chris — a 1988 Mizzou graduate in agriculture — that they showed to several Greek chapters this fall in anticipation of the blood drive. Nicole, who is the executive vice president of Mizzou’s Sigma Kappa sorority chapter, hopes students who saw the video realized the importance of blood donations.

Mizzou Homecoming
The University of Missouri started the tradition of an annual Homecoming football game and celebration in 1911. This tradition has spread throughout the world, but Mizzou still boasts the largest student-run Homecoming in the nation. Learn more about Mizzou Homecoming.

“Anytime someone is talking about how they’re scared of it, they just have to remember that you might be scared of it, but imagine how scary it is to be dying and just needing blood from other people,” she says.

The Homecoming blood drive collected 3,906 units of blood this year, enough to save 11,718 lives.