Hinchcliffe uses own experience to talk about the importance of donating blood

James Hinchcliffe speaks with reporters after failing to qualify for Sunday's Indianapolis 500. (Photo: IndyCar/Chris Jones)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) —Today is Blood Donor Day.

It's a day about celebrating the people who choose to donate their blood.

Nearly half of the people in the US know someone who has been helped by a blood transfusion, but according to the Red Cross, only a third of the people in the US donate blood.

Blood shortages are not uncommon in the US especially in summer because there are more accidents but not as many people donating blood.

As you probably know, IndyCar driver, James Hinchcliffe, knows the reality of blood loss all too well.

Hinchcliffe crashed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway three years ago, and this morning he was a guest on Megyn Kelly Today where he spoke about the crash.

"I don't remember any of it, so one of the biggest blessings in the whole thing, I was very concussed in the accident, a big head, going 220 mph into a concrete wall will do that. And so I tried very hard from the minute I woke up not associate any of the pain or the rehab or any of that stuff with car, with racing with anything. I sort of disassociate it. And so I watch that and it's like watching somebody else go through it."

When Hinchliffe hit the wall, a piece of suspension, which is basically a steel tube punctured an artery.

He lost blood all the way to the hospital and even on the way to the operating room.

He told Megyn Kelly that his body only holds 11 units of blood, and the doctors at IU Health Methodist gave him 22 units.

"The 22 strangers who donated, I never met them, never will, but they literally saved my life and I hate, it happens so often but I hate the fact that it took something like this for me to understand the real problem of blood shortage," Hinchcliffe said. "And immediately it kind of became my new mission."

That's why he started the Hinchcliffe Hundred Blood Drive.

He held the drive the week before the Indy 500, and now he's taking the blood drive across the country holding two more at the Iowa Speedway.

He's hoping to one day get a mobile unit at every IndyCar race.