To The Stranger That Saved My life
We received this message on Facebook. It's powerful and we're grateful for it. This is why we make the best damned First Aid Kits on planet Earth - to help others.
Original Facebook Message to us at MyMedic:
"I was just made aware of your company and product this morning and I felt the urge to say thank you. I have been looking for a go to medical kit for emergency situations for many years and have never been able to find what I wanted/needed. I have attached a link to my own story where I was the recipient of a first responder and because of them I am still alive. Since then I have improved upon my medical training and started carrying a small thrown-together kit with me, so if one day I am presented with an emergency scenario I can step up an help someone else. It may seem odd, or even silly, but finding your business and product have made me a bit emotional this morning. Connected, yet flooded and overcome in so many different ways...Whether I actually understand the meaning and purpose behind your mission or not, I have felt that I completely understand. Thank you again, I wish you all great success."
Following is Kaleb's story, written by him.
To the Stranger that saved my life:
At the corner of Harrison Blvd and 3850 South in Ogden, Utah on the West side of Harrison across from Weber State University, at approximately 4:30 am on April 17th, 2000…You, a stranger, saved my life…and became a hero to me.
I was 18 years old at the time, a high school graduate that was working and trying to figure out what to do next. I was enjoying my new found freedom having moved out of my parents’ home just two months earlier. I had no car, but I had a strong work ethic and a bicycle which I rode nine miles to work each day. I felt good about myself and what I had accomplished.
On this morning, like so many others, I donned my Aquabats sweatshirt, backpack, beanie, gloves and Disc-Man and left at the usual time, 4:25 am. I was renting a room in a house just kiddie-corner from the Weber State University tennis courts, it was a small room that was mouse infested and I had roommates I didn’t know, but, it was my mine and I loved it. I let the beat of my music get my feet moving and my blood pumping as I headed towards my job in the darkness of the brisk morning air. I turned onto Harrison Boulevard heading northbound down the hill and gave it all I had. My 21speed mountain bike flew down the hill gaining as much speed as I could muster to help me through the long uphill that was coming up. I began to coast about 20 yards up from the changing traffic light at 3850 South and extended my fingers out over the hand brakes to help manage my speed as I approached the intersection. This is when my life changed this was the point where my subconscious belief that I was an indestructible teenager was unceremoniously disproved. I glanced down at the road for a second just in time to see the small rock in the road as my front tire hit it.
My handlebars suddenly jumped 90º, spinning around causing my right hand to slip off the grip. I was catapulted into the air, end-over-end, time seemed to slow down for a moment as I flew through the air. I remember considering the fact that I wasn’t wearing a helmet and began tucking my head down towards my chest as I thought to myself: “Well, I guess I’m not going to work today. I will drag myself home, clean up and go back to bed…” but that wasn’t the case. After tumbling with my bike for about 30 feet I finally came to a stop on the East side of the boulevard. I was tangled up in my bike and had finished facing uphill with my face sliding against the rough cold asphalt. I untangled myself from my bike and stood up to survey the damage, the taste of blood and asphalt in my mouth.
I hurt all over, but my hands…my hands were on fire! As I turned my hands over to view the damage to my palms the tops of my gloves fell and hung loosely from the rings at my wrists, the palm side of the gloves were gone…eaten away by the unforgiving asphalt. My right arm sleeve had been pushed up above my elbow and my arm was covered in road rash. I had to steady myself as I stood looking at my bloody palms and that’s when I noticed it in the dim light from the streetlight ahead of me…movement by my leg. I put my hands down and looked closer…there was a hole in my jeans on the upper inner thigh of my left leg. I mean a hole…a neatly cut circle, not a rip or a tear, a hole. The movement that I had noticed a second before came again and I knew I was in far worse shape than I had thought. Blood was spurting from my leg through the hole in my jeans with each of my racing heartbeats; I had severed the Femoral Artery in my left leg. Little did I know at the time that my handlebars had punctured my left thigh when they came around and had actually taken a scoop out of my leg which included a section of my femoral artery.
My mind felt foggy as I tried to focus on the problem as best it could, trying to calculate the facts I knew…it is 4:30 in the morning and no one is around, you’re bleeding out with nothing to stop the bleeding, you have minutes to get help (maybe), but McKay Dee Hospital’s Emergency Room is about a block away on the other side of Harrison, that’s your best bet…
So with the clarity of someone who had just been through a horrible accident, I picked up my mangled bike, shouldered it and started crossing the street heading towards the Emergency Room.
In hindsight I should have left the bike there. I was about half way across the street looking north at a few oncoming headlights when my vision started to darken and narrow by the time I was three quarters of the way across I was totally blind. The last thing I remember seeing was the far west lane headlights swerving down the street to avoid running me over then nothing but pure black. I continued to blindly stumble across the road until I tripped over a small section of curbing at the other side. As I fell into the brush I became all tangled back up in my bike again this is when my mind told me I was going to die and I ‘KNEW’ it was right. I began to panic. Fear gripped me as I struggled to blindly free myself; fighting to continue towards the hospital for a chance.
I have vague recollections of crying out saying, “I DON’T WANT TO DIE!” in response to the growing voice of fear and hopelessness in my head that kept saying with each heartbeat, “Your time is up… you are going to die here on the side of the road, bloody, beaten and alone…”
I managed to get to a sitting position as I freed myself from my bike, blindly tossed it aside and struggled to get up for the second time. That is when you arrived. The firm hand in the middle of my chest and a confident compassionate voice said, “Don’t move, help is on the way.” You really do not know what you did for me that day, at that scene, in that specific moment. You didn’t just save my life and offer me help, you gave me hope when I ‘KNEW’ I was going to die! You brought me back to reality in that moment; you pulled me back from the grip of fear and panic and gave me hope, a hope that I clung to and was able to reach a state of peace because you changed what I knew! I now knew that even if I was going to die that day, I wasn’t going to have to die alone. It may have only been noticeable to me, but the panic I was feeling vanished in that instant and my mind snapped back to the problem at hand as I began frantically telling you about the need to stopping the bleeding from my leg.
I was unaware at that time, of the other injury that I had sustained to my face. I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for maintaining your composure and tone when you saw me; My eyes wide and wild with blind panic, my face shredded and covered in blood from the accident… I was a ghastly and gruesome site to behold I am sure but you were there, steady and calm.
From here time seemed to take forever and it felt like a half hour before the EMTs arrived, which I am sure that it wasn’t, probably more like a few minutes. After all I had wrecked my bike only a block away from the hospital. As the EMT’s went to work cutting off my sweatshirt and backpack, I recall them asking me over and over, “Did you see it?” Not understanding the question, still blind and in shock I remember asking, “See what?” It seems that in my condition I looked as if I had been hit by a car, and they were trying to get any details from me they could. I remember feeling very tired and a little embarrassed as I explained that I had not been hit by a car, I had hit a rock in the road. A small rock, less than an inch in diameter had very handily taken me down. What followed was two surgeries, a week in the hospital and, a month of physical therapy. Add in a stitched up sweatshirt and backpack and I was mostly back together.
I learned several lessons that day, some involved the importance of safety gear, others the importance of basic first aid skills, as well as some tougher lesson about the physics of forces and friction…But the two most powerful lessons I learned that day were about life and compassion.
• First lesson - life is fleeting and can be stripped away, in any moment, by the most inane and innocuous thing, placed at just the right moment.
• Second Lesson - having compassion and taking proper action at the right moment can allow anyone to change the world…even if that change is for just one person.
Heroes are real! They are embodied by people like you. You didn’t have to act. You didn’t have to show a total stranger compassion. But, you chose to and that is what it took for you to become a hero to me, a simple act during my moment of great need. You, who saved my life that day fifteen years ago - I wish I knew you. I want to say thank you even though I know the words would fall utterly short and could never convey what that truly means to me. The panicked and blind state I was in when you arrived, kept me from knowing anything about you. I don’t know your name, I don’t know what you look like, I honestly don’t even know if you are male or female; all I know is that you showed me great compassion when you chose to saved my life that cold April morning. Over the years I have tried different ways of finding you but had no success. I hope that someday I can find an appropriate and meaningful way to say thank you. Until then I will honor your actions by helping those I can as often as possible in as many aspects of my life as I can.
You showed me that we are all a part of this world and we are all better because of it. You inspired me to enroll in college - though the medical bills caused a significant hiatus - you have allowed me the joy of finding and marrying my beautiful and amazing wife, of having my three lovely daughters, and my adorable son. I have been able to be successful in my career and was able to go back to school years later. I am now just a few classes away from earning my degree and will be the first in my family to do so. I often think of you and what you have done for me. Please know that because of your selfless and heroic actions, I have been able… to live.
With much respect, love and gratitude,
Kaleb LeishmanIt may seem like nothing to you in the moment, but I would wager that your actions meant a great deal more to the recipient. Remember all it takes is to have compassion for your fellow man and act! Don’t allow yourselves to get caught up in your own world, failing to see the needs of others or believing that someone else will help; because even ‘IF’ someone does help, maybe that extra moment would have been able to make the difference. I am living proof!
So to all of you that have ever stopped to help someone, thank you!
Hopefully this will help to inspire you to learn how to help in case you need to save a life.