Run Brennah, Run
Brennah Payne was just seven years old when she was in a terrible car accident. Asleep in the back seat with the seat belt across her waist, Brennah had no idea what was in store. It’s hard to even look at the photo of the damaged car and believe its occupants survived. Brennah and her older sister were both hurt. A helicopter flew them to Enloe Medical Center in Chico, CA where Brennah had her first surgery and first blood transfusions before being transferred to Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto. All in all, it would take nine surgeries to repair the damage caused to Brennah’s mid-section by the crash and involve many, many units of blood.
Brennah describes this medical journey matter-of-factly, seemingly unaware of wide-eyed, horrified glances and held-breath of her listeners. “My back had fractures. I had 9 fractures on my face and nose. My right kidney was bruised, the tube to my kidney was cut in half, and my bowels were torn in many places. In 6 months I had 22 anesthesia procedures and 9 major surgeries. But fortunately, I’m fine now!”
Brennah received many units of blood and plasma to help her survive critical injuries. This amazing young girl now encourages potential blood donors by giving community presentations at her church and high school. Her laugh is infectious and soon the whole room is laughing with her as her good health and positive attitude lights up the room. For those who may be anxious about donating blood, Brennah advises, “Be brave, you could be the one to save another person’s life, like mine.”
The need for blood galvanized Brennah’s family into action. Heather, Brennah’s mom, helps organize the blood drive at their church and her dad, Ben, is a regular blood donor. Brennah’s experience and great attitude inspires a whole community of blood donors.
Now in high school, Brennah speaks positively about all that has occurred since her accident, including her Red Cross Hometown Hero award. She enjoys dancing (ballet, jazz and tap), singing, acting, swimming and most recently, running.
“I had to learn how to walk again after the accident,” Brennah says. “It’s hard to believe that now I run track and cross country and have qualified for state meets.”
Of all things in her life, Brennah is most proud to be “Aunty” to a growing number of nieces and nephews. She cherishes her family. This very busy – and very special – young woman encourages all of us to take time to be thankful…and to give blood if we can.
Together, we do save lives.