"I want to give him a big hug and say thank you"

How one woman survived a horrific car crash and met up with the donor who helped save her life

Before the 120-mile-an-hour car accident that nearly took her life, there was no connection between Emily Pringle and the blood donors who saved her life, but when she got to meet Karl Kellner, it’s no surprise that a grateful embrace was the first thing on her mind.

Emily, a 42-year-old mum and divorce consultant from Gloucestershire, was driving on the A40 near Cheltenham when her Audi collided with another car at a combined speed of 120 miles an hour in June 2018.

Emily Pringle's car after the collision
Emily's car after the collision

The accident broke 27 bones in Emily’s neck, back, and legs and ruptured her carotid artery.

Her life was saved with the help of the five units of blood she received at the scene and after being taken to hospital by helicopter.

Special meeting

One of those units came from Karl, who had given blood at his local Stafford session, about 100 miles from Bristol, where Emily was treated. She spent eight days in intensive care and another three weeks on the ward.

Almost a year later, Emily and Karl met at our Birmingham Donor Centre.


Emily Pringle and Karl Kellner
Emily meeting Karl at Birmingham Donor Centre

"I’m quite intrigued about meeting Karl,” said Emily before the two were united.

"It doesn’t feel odd at all. I want to give him a big hug and say thank you. Obviously I wouldn’t be here without blood donation. If you don’t have blood you don’t live."

It was a very special day and one I will remember forever

After sharing a hug and a chat with Emily, Karl gave blood at the centre, joined by Emily’s partner Neil.

Thirty-four-year-old Karl, who started giving blood at university, said, "I was quite nervous before the meeting, but it was an amazing experience to meet someone that you have helped.

"It was a very special day and one I will remember forever. Every time I go to donate from now on, I’ll think that this is something that will change another person’s life.

"I know it’s important that men especially get out there and donate.

"Men’s blood can be used for more products like plasma and platelets. One blood donation can save up to three adult lives.”