On June 27, 2011, Michelle Salt’s life changed forever. The 28-year-old realtor with a zest for life and adventure was riding her motorcycle up Cochrane Hill on the outskirts of Calgary when she lost control and hit a guard rail. In the first 36 hours after the accident the young woman needed 28 units of blood to help save her life.

Michelle was on life support for seven days and endured four major surgeries in her first five days in hospital. The accident severed one of her femoral arteries resulting in the loss of her right leg above the knee. In the first few months of her ordeal, Michelle’s family and friends were constantly at her side, often reflecting on the critical role that blood donation played in her survival.

By focusing on her recovery and setting short-term goals, the accomplished snowboarder, runner and model faces every new challenge with determination, optimism and gratitude. Michelle is especially thankful to all the blood donors whose gifts helped ensure her recovery and she understands more than most how important it is.

Last year, Michelle launched her own campaign, The Megaleg Blood Drive, to help others. “Because 28 complete strangers took the time to donate so I could live, I wanted to give back through this partnership with Canadian Blood Services,” says Michelle. “My goal was to help collect 84 donations to replace three times the number of units I needed.”

The Megaleg Blood Drive ran from June 15 to Nov. 1 with Michelle’s friends and family spreading the word across the country. From Vancouver to Edmonton to Calgary to Sydney and Halifax, the campaign was a tremendous success and produced almost five times its original goal with a grand total of 418 donations!

Canadian Blood Services salutes Michelle and all those who helped make this drive a mega success.