Las Vegas shooting survivor from Arizona meets her first blood donor at Phoenix event

Jovanna Calzadillas and her husband Frank met the blood donor who helped save her life.
Jovanna Calzadillas and her husband Frank met the blood donor who helped save her life.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 9:15 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — An Arizona woman who survived the 2017 Las Vegas shooting thanked her blood donors on Friday at a special event but also got a surprise meeting herself. “I am so thankful and grateful that I’m standing here in front of you to thank you,” said Jovanna Calzadillas. “Keep doing what you’re doing and fight for people like.” She got a standing ovation from everyone there. But then she got to meet Thad Bodker, from Henderson, Nevada, who was her blood donor. He drove hundreds of miles to Phoenix to surprise her. Calzadillas, her husband and Bodker then embraced while the crowd clapped. Bodker has donated 27 times.

Nearly 300 blood drive coordinators were honored at the Vitalant’s Valentines for Life event at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown for saving countless lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the coronavirus, thousands of blood donations weren’t collected since blood drives were canceled. The coordinators stepped and helped people find a way to give blood. One of the many people who was helped was Calzadillas. She is still recovering after being shot in the head during the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on Oct. 1, 2017. Doctors didn’t think she’d make it but she made a remarkable recovery with the help of blood donors. “I didn’t know how important it was to donate blood until it saved my life,” said Calzadillas.

Arizona’s Family was one of those who accepted an award for the partnership we have made with the Saving Arizona blood drives put on by Vitalant.