Blood drive helps Burke County deputy injured in freak accident

Wednesday, August 14, 2019
News 12 at 5

Sgt. Jay Hollingsworth was injured by a stray bullet while responding to a fire in 2013. (Source: Traci Hollingsworth)

WAYNESBORO, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- People from all over came together to donate blood to a Burke County Deputy injured by a stray bullet in 2013.

Sergeant Jay Hollingsworth says he will soon face his fifth surgery - this one to try to remove the bullet that's still lodged in his spine. He says his doctors believe this one will be the most risky one yet.

Because of the location of the bullet, doctors were initially unable to remove it. Six years later, that bullet has given him lead poisoning. Doctors must now perform the risky surgery to remove it, before it causes any more damage to his body.

Hollingsworth was hit by a stray bullet while helping fire officials respond to a fire back in 2013. The heat from the fire caused a loaded gun to go off and hit Hollingsworth in the stomach.

"When the bullet hit me, I didn't know what had happened. I heard a pop. It wasn't the gun going off. I didn't find out until later, it was actually the bullet hitting me," he said.

Hollingsworth says the nearest trauma center was 55 miles away, and he didn't know if he would survive.

"It was in my mind the whole time that if I can just hang on until I could get to the trauma center, that I would be OK," he said.

Nearly every year since, Hollingsworth says he has faced some sort of complication. This time, it's lead poisoning. He says it's caused his hair to fall out, and has caused him excruciating joint pain.

The doctors told him he needed to prepare for the chance of a blood transfusion during surgery, because the location of the bullet is close to several vessels and arteries.

That's when he says he went to the Burke County Sheriff's Office, and asked his colleagues to help him put on a blood drive. Holding true to his giving nature, Hollingsworth says he wanted to do something good for the community.

"I didn't give my blood type on purpose, so that we could raise as much as we could so that the Children's Hospital and Trauma Center could have the blood they need for other people and we can help them," he said.

If you didn't get a chance to donate blood today, but would still like to give blood in Sgt. Hollingsworth name, you can go to any one of the Shepherd Community Blood Centers and mention that you are donating in Sgt. Hollingsworth's name.

Here's where you can donate:

 Shepherd Community Blood Center
1533 Wrightsboro Road
Augusta, GA 30904
Monday-Friday: 9am - 5pm

Shepherd Community Blood Center - Evans
4329 Washington Road
Evans, GA 30809
Monday-Friday: 8am - 6pm; Saturday: 9am-3pm; Sunday: 12pm-5pm

Shepherd Community Blood Center in the Hitchcock Plaza Shopping Center 
353 Fabian Drive
Aiken, SC 29803
Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm; Saturday: 9am-3pm

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