On March 1, 2021, Westbrook is one of many churches participating in the Waconia Area Interfaith Blood Drive. One thing you might not know is that one of our former members is coordinating this event. Alicia Northenscold works for Memorial Blood Centers, and she is coordinating this blood drive. Alicia worshipped at Westbrook for several years when she was living in the Chaska area. Here is part of Alicia’s story.
“My goal is that giving blood will become a routine for others as well. I think when people can see who their blood helps, they’re more likely to give because they can put a face with their gift.”
– Alicia Northenscold, blood recipient, blood donor, blood drive coordinator, and mother of two.
42 minutes trapped in a car after a head-on collision, 8 units of donated blood, 12 surgeries, 17 days in a coma, 18 months in a wheelchair, and 5 years of physical therapy and recovery that involved re-learning how to read, write, and talk. Alicia Northenscold has been through more than most.
One snowy morning in 2009, 27-year-old Alicia was driving to work when her car was struck by an oncoming vehicle. The impact compacted the dash of Alicia’s car, pinning her legs under the dash; she was trapped until help was able to get to the scene.
When first responders arrived from the Monticello Fire Department, they pulled back the dash of Alicia’s car and freed her. “As a responder, you’re taught to never to use tools together – they’re very expensive and can be dangerous when combined,” said Alicia. “But they said, ‘let’s do it,’ and they got my legs out of there.” To this day, Alicia and her family have stayed in touch with the Monticello Fire Department.
Alicia was transported to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, where she received 8 units of blood and had 12 surgeries over the next few months. The accident broke both of her femurs and her hip. Formerly a kickboxer and a runner, Alicia had to re-learn how to use her legs. She also broke her neck and sustained a traumatic brain injury, putting her in a coma for 17 days. It took her 5 years to learn to read again, and once she could, she went back to school to pursue a degree in neuropsychology. Alicia was told she would be unable to have children, but today she is a mother of two daughters. All thanks to generous blood donors, fast-acting first responders, and excellent care teams – not to mention Alicia’s positivity and bravery.
Alicia knows how vital donated blood was to her survival and recovery. “Donated blood saved my life, so I can help save more people’s lives and pay it forward.” She donates blood with Memorial Blood Centers regularly, adding that it’s “completely selfless giving – it doesn’t come out of our pockets, we can give and get it back.”
In spring 2019, Alicia held her first-ever blood drive to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of her accident and rescue. The drive was held at the Monticello Fire Department, and several of Alicia’s firefighters and paramedics that helped during her accident attended and donated. It was a huge success, and Alicia plans to make it an annual tradition in honor of the Monticello Fire Department's first responders. “To be able to give back and get other people to give blood is huge. My goal is that giving blood will become a routine thing for others as well.”
Today, Alicia lives in Blaine with her daughters. In addition to being a passionate blood drive coordinator and blood donor, in fall 2019 Alicia joined the Memorial Blood Centers team as an Account Manager, recruiting blood drive sponsors and donors and helping spread the word about the importance of blood donation. “Many of my family members donate blood regularly, and I didn’t know it before my accident. It was a huge blessing, I’m grateful. I can’t run, I can’t jump, which is tough to accept. But I’m grateful that I can still walk and do the electric slide!”
When you donate, your blood helps save lives like Alicia’s.