LANCASTER – Family and friends of Zac Lutz are gearing up for the 2nd Annual Motorcycle Awareness Blood Drive & Fundraiser.
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 at the Antelope Valley Hospital Blood Donor Center, located at 44105 15th Street West, Suite 305, in Lancaster.
“I was helped with donated blood so this is paying it forward for what was done for me, for all the support given to me,” Zac Lutz said Wednesday morning.
The 20-year-old has reason to be thankful and to “pay it forward.”
One year ago today, Zac was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash while traveling to his second day of work at Antelope Valley Harley Davidson. The then 19-year-old was riding north on 45th Street West when a pickup truck u-turned in front of him. Zac crashed around 40-50 mph landing face-first, family members said. His injuries were extensive, and he was put in a medically induced coma while doctors conducted multiple surgeries. After each surgery, Zac required blood, and panicked family members began putting out the call for blood donations. (Read last year’s story here.)
“We did it out of fear and desperation because we didn’t even know if he was going to live,” said Zac’s mother, Robin Merrick. “We gave blood and then gave a shout-out for our family and friends to give blood.”
The first impromptu blood drive by the family and friends of Zac Lutz was a success, with residents donating more than 103 units of blood.
“There’s a lot of people that I didn’t even know [that donated], so it feels great,” Zac said. “You just realize that there is a lot of great people in the AV that stand by you and support you when you’re in need.”
Doctors originally predicted a slow recovery process with several permanent disabilities, but Zac has managed to “beat all odds” and the accident has not stopped him from pursuing his dreams, his mother said.
At the time of the accident, Zac was engaged to be married and the couple had already sent out wedding invitations. After several surgeries and an excruciating rehabilitation, Zac slowly walked down the aisle to marry his bride, Nicole. Zac also managed to keep his commitment to the Army.
“The Army reassessed his physical condition and gave him the option of a medical discharge, which he declined, so they have kept him as an Army Reserve,” Merrick said. Zac cannot be deployed because of his permanent disabilities, but he still takes part in physical training with his platoon.
Zac has also received the General’s Coin for his courage and commitment to the Army, Merrick added. “I’m a proud mother!” she said.
Zac’s remarkable recovery would not be possible without a strong support system, which includes his family, his friends, his new wife and the community, Merrick said.
“Not every motorcycle rider or anybody involved in an accident gets to have such a great outcome, so we were just so blessed with our friends and even people that we didn’t know that came out and helped us,” Merrick said. “We just feel compelled to help the next person that this may happen to.”
Zac will be attending the 2nd Annual Motorcycle Awareness Blood Drive & Fundraiser on May 4 in order to personally thank the blood donors from last year. Organizers have also planned a variety of fun activities to keep donors entertained as they wait to give blood.
There will be a live band in the parking lot, raffle tickets and prizes, and a bake sale. Plans are also in the works for a motorcycle and car show, Merrick said.
“We’re just really happy to be doing this,” she added.
To support the 2nd Annual Motorcycle Awareness Blood Drive & Fundraiser, you need only to show up on May 4, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and be ready to donate blood. Appointments are encouraged to cut down on the wait time, but walk-ins will also be accepted. To make an appointment, contact the AV Hospital Blood Donor Center at 661-949-5622.
Previous related stories: Teen seriously injured in motorcycle crash