Give for Texans – Jacky’s Story
A personal journey on the road from recipient to donor and employee
In western Arizona, Route 66 rolls through the heart of Kingman, a city of nearly 30,000 people and an iconic stop for those who, according to the famous song, ever plan to motor west.
A few blocks north of the historic highway, the intersection of Bank Street and Kino Avenue is a nondescript spot bounded by flat, dusty fields. This crossroad is much less recognized than its neighboring artery, yet it holds powerful significance for one Carter BloodCare employee.
It was here that Jacky Polasky’s life took a sudden and dangerous turn.
A fateful crossing
Oct. 8, 2008 was a seasonably cool, dry morning in Kingman. For Jacky, it started as a Wednesday like each one before, making his usual trek to work, a relatable routine for so many early morning commuters.
At the junction of Bank and Kino, however, all routine was shattered.
Speeding down Kino Avenue, a 19-year-old motorist under the influence barreled past a stop sign. Her sedan slammed squarely into the driver’s side of Jacky’s Ford Explorer Sport Trac. The force of the collision violently spun Jacky’s 2.4-ton truck across the intersection and off the road into an adjacent dirt field.
Barely conscious after the impact, Jacky was rescued from his mangled vehicle and rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital. Doctors at Kingman Regional Medical Center determined Jacky had sustained several life-threatening injuries, including four broken vertebrae and brain trauma.
Because of severe bleeding in his brain, Jacky was quickly airlifted more than 100 miles northwest for treatment by a neurological team in Nevada.
“They were thinking I could die, this guy’s definitely going to die,” Jacky said.
He remained in Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas for three months, two of which were spent in a coma.
“I just woke up two months later with IVs in my arm and a TV on the wall,” he said. “I couldn’t remember anything about the accident itself and only learned about what happened from reading the reports later.”
Jacky was released from the hospital and returned home to Arizona a few days before Christmas that year. Soon after, though, he took another turn.
Setback in recovery
“I felt like I was sick, like I had the flu or something. I was incoherent and had difficulty understanding what was happening,” Jacky said. “I remember being placed on a gurney and not grasping how this bed I was on was moving. I just had no idea what was going on.”
Doctors in Kingman concluded Jacky once more needed to receive critical care from the neurologists in Nevada.
“I was placed in an ambulance, taken to the airport, and flown back to Sunrise Hospital for a blood transfusion because my brain was leaking,” he said. “I mean, they put me on a jet to fly me to get a transfusion, that’s how serious and important it was.”
Following successful transfusions and treatment, Jacky was again released, but faced challenges and therapy because of his brain injury.
“It was like learning everything all over again – cooking, learning to drive, that was the hardest part,” he recalled. “For a while, listening to cars or even feeling the air or a gust of wind was very frightening because it caused so much sensory overload. It all seemed so new to me.”
As he recovered and regained his health, part of Jacky’s emotional and spiritual recovery came about through the selfless act of helping others. He began by donating whole blood at a local blood drive and later started donating platelets.
Platelets help the blood clot and are used to treat cancer patients, those undergoing heart surgery, and patients with trauma and massive bleeding, as Jacky experienced. Unlike whole blood, which can be donated every 56 days, platelets can be donated every two weeks.
“I have been donating platelets once or twice every month religiously,” Jacky said.
A new direction and a fresh career
Since moving to Grapevine, Texas in 2017, Jacky has been donating platelets with Carter BloodCare and recently received his donor recognition pin for giving 25 gallons over the course of his donation history.
“That’s what makes me happy, to donate and know that I can help save three or four lives,” he said. “We need this, we all do, because you never know what will happen to you or your family. You hope and pray that hospitals have the type of blood on-hand if you or someone you know ever needs a transfusion.”
Jacky’s road to recovery also led him to a new career.
A chance conversation while donating platelets compelled Jacky to join Carter BloodCare in the summer of 2021.
His lifesaving career as a mobile staging technician has helped him realize the importance of blood donation from three distinct viewpoints: as an emergency transfusion recipient, a blood and platelet donor, and a Carter BloodCare employee.
“What I’ve learned on this journey is, there are times when it’s tough and the road back can be long, but it’s beautiful to learn there are people out there who care and who want to help,” Jacky said. “We all need blood to survive. It’s life. To give blood is to save a life, and that’s so incredibly powerful.”
You can make a lifesaving difference by donating blood, platelets or plasma. Please make an appointment by calling or texting Carter BloodCare at 800-366-2834 today.