Las Vegas Arizona shooting survivor meets her first blood donor at event in Phoenix

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — An Arizona woman who survived the 2017 Las Vegas shooting thanked her blood donors Friday at a special event, but also had a surprise encounter. “I am so grateful and thankful to be here in front of you to thank you,” said Jovanna Calzadillas. “Keep doing what you’re doing and fight for people like.” She received a standing ovation from everyone. But then she met Thad Bodker, of Henderson, Nevada, who was her blood donor. He drove hundreds of miles to Phoenix to surprise her. Calzadillas, her husband and Bodker then embraced as the crowd cheered. Bodker has donated 27 times.

Nearly 300 blood donor coordinators were honored at Vitalant’s Valentines for Life event at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown for saving countless lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the coronavirus, thousands of blood donations have not been collected since the cancellation of blood drives. Coordinators stepped in and helped people find a way to donate blood. One of the many people who were helped was Calzadillas. She is still recovering after being shot in the head during the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on October 1, 2017. Doctors didn’t think she would make it, but she made a remarkable recovery with the help of blood donors. “I didn’t know how important it was to donate blood until it saved my life,” Calzadillas said.

Arizona’s family was one of those who accepted an award for our partnership with the Saving Arizona blood drives run by Vitalant.

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