How blood donations saved one local man’s life


SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ Plus) — This is the story of two brothers and how blood donations ended up saving one of their lives.

“This picture here is of Anthony and Trevor and it was the last picture Anthony and Trevor took before Anthony went away to the Air Force. Then we have a picture of when he came back, it was the first time he had seen him so he’s in his uniform and Trevor is very very proud of him,” says Trevor’s mom Brenda.

A picture can say a thousand words, and for Anthony McPhee and Trevor Thomas, it shows even more.

“They shared a unique friendship where they called each other brother. Anthony is like a second son to us,” says Thomas.

Brenda Thomas’s son Trevor passed away on September 1 of last year when the two were in a motorcycle accident.

Trevor may have passed away, but his legacy certainly hasn’t because of the type of person he was.

“Trevor was the biggest supporter of everyone around him and he saw the most potential in, he saw potential in everybody. He was such a leader and people wanted to follow him. He had that personality where he accepted you for who you were,” says Thomas.

Anthony survived but needed more than 75 units of blood to stay alive.

For his mother Tammy, it was a long night not sure of what would happen to him.

“We sat in a waiting room and I just remember hour after hour after hour going by and it turned into a 12-hour surgery. We did not know the extent of his injuries until the doctors finally came out,” says Anthony’s mom Tammy Shepherd.

Doctors eventually had to amputate his leg below the knee, but Shepherd says it was the blood that had saved his life.

“He would have died without a blood transfusion.”

Nine surgeries later, with a tenth in the near future, Anthony is recovering.

Through seeing Anthony, Brenda realized she needed to give blood more often.

“At times throughout my life, if I wasn’t able to make my appointment I thought oh it’s no big deal but I have since realized especially through this with supporting Anthony, I have to give blood.”

With the help of the American Red Cross, they were able to do something special.

“We had our own blood drive in December in memory of Trevor and in honor of Anthony and my goal was the 75 or 76 units of blood and I think we ended with 85.”

Ten more units than what Anthony had needed to survive.

Thomas encourages everyone to make blood donations.

“You basically walk in, they test your iron and your temperature and then you’re on your way. It doesn’t take much time at all. Within 30 minutes you might be walking back out the door.”

She says the Red Cross even tells you where your blood has gone.

“In October when I had given, a few weeks later I had received an email and it told me where my blood went to. It told me it went to the V.A. hospital in Richmond, Virginia which is where Anthony was at that time.”

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