Gift of Life: Bret Beherns’ Story

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — WCIA 3 Sports Director Bret Beherns shares how blood donations have personally impacted his life.

Every week, Bret delivers the biggest sports stories from Central Illinois and beyond. He breaks news around the clock, even while sitting at the Community Blood Services of Illinois. He knows his career and family wouldn’t be possible without lifesaving medical he received in 2006.

“I was in a really bad accident and catapulted 80 feet in the air working on a cell phone tower in Rochester,” Bret says. “Fortunately I was able to get really great medical help after a whole bunch of injuries.”

Bret lost his leg as a result of the accident. He spent 54 days in the hospital and 13 days in a coma.

“I don’t remember anything leading up to that accident,” he says. “But I do remember waking up after spending 13 days in a coma and the first thing I thought was, ‘Where am I at? How come I don’t have a leg?'”

Bret learned he received multiple blood transfusions. After recovering, the generosity of strangers inspired him to give back as well.

“Now, I feel as if it is my responsibility to give back for anyone that may be in a predicament that was as unfortunate as mine,” Bret says. “So, I really love to come in here and give back and feel like I’m doing some service and being grateful for everyone that helped me even though I don’t know who those people are.”

Bret says he had never donated before his accident, admitting he was terrified of needles.

“For me, it was that unknown; you don’t know what it’s going to be like coming in here,” Bret says. “I get that. It’s going to be uncomfortable for two seconds, but that small discomfort is completely worth the payoff if someone else is going to be able to possibly get a life saved because of what you’re able to do.”

That’s why Bret now donates as much as possible. He’s become a familiar face for technicians like Carol Wiese.

“I asked him why he donates and he told me about his story and how he wants to give back because he needed help at the time he was injured,” Wiese says.

Bret gave her a link to a documentary he made on his accident and recovery, and asked her to share it with as many people as possible. She says she’s inspired by the people she meets every day, including Bret.

“It makes me feel great,” Wiese says. “I feel honored to work here with people who come in and give. Just amazed. I had no idea before this job that people were willing to do this for people they’d never even see. It’s amazing.”

“Everyone is going to have a moment in their life that they’re not expecting and they need help,” Bret says. “I firmly believe that for me it’s about paying it forward in that sense. When someone else needs blood, when someone else is in a terrible position in their life, if I can just play a small part in that, then I’ve done my job. I’ve been successful in giving back in that service.”

Here is how you can give on Friday, December 27th for the annual “Gift of Life” blood drive.

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