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Tyler Zander overcomes adversity and gives back

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at OK State chapter.

He was told he might not even make it through the night, but Tyler Zander proved them wrong.

He lost his leg, but his life was saved.

A year ago, Zander was working at a grain elevator the summer before his senior year when one of his coworkers fell into a floor auger, which is a large metal corkscrew that spins to move wheat.

“The auger was pulling his leg into it, and when I heard him scream I ran to help him,” Zander said. “Next thing I knew, I was in it as well.”

Rescue workers struggled for an hour and twenty minutes to get them out before they were airlifted to OU Medical Center, where the doctors told Zander’s parents told them that he most likely wouldn’t make it through the night.

“I had my amputation, an open pelvic fracture, a tear in my bladder, and developed four infections,” Zander said. “I was in the hospital for 72 days where I had 30 surgeries and 97 units of blood. I struggled with the aftermath of the accident for at least a year. Physically, I had to constantly work to get my life back as normal as possible, and it took until this last summer until I was finally successfully fit with a prosthetic.

Mentally and emotionally, I believed I had already lived the best days of my life. I felt inferior to everyone, and believed that is how everyone else saw me. I didn’t understand how to overcome something that was never going to come back.”

He said the hour and twenty minutes he was stuck in the auger, he realized what was truly important in his life which is his faith and God.

“I repeatedly told my parents to trust God and to make sure my little brother would be saved,” Zander said. “I believed I was going to die, but I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t worried about losing a leg or even my life because I knew where I was going.

The only thing I was worried about was making sure everyone I loved would be in heaven with me. That morning I saw the value of knowing Jesus Christ was my savior and the importance of discipleship. I no longer worry or stress about my future because God has brought me through so much, and I know he isn’t going to stop anytime soon. I try to always put my focus solely on Him.”

Ever since his accident, Zander wants to give the blood and donate the 97 units of blood that were given to him to save his life over the next few years.

“After I donated at the last Bedlam Blood Battle, I donated again as soon as possible. Unfortunately, that time my blood had a false-positive test so I cannot donate again until February. However, I plan on never forgetting the importance that blood donations played in my life, and to always remember people that need blood like I did so I’ll always donate as frequently as possible.

Zander said a piece of advice he would like to give to anyone facing adversity or obstacles in their life is to never listen to what the world says you can’t do.

“I was given “restrictions” on the quality of my life by doctors, prosthetics, physical therapists, and so many others,” Zander said. “I only focused on my faith and what God provided. He has given me a life greater than I could have ever imagined.”

The name's Saleah. I'm a student at OSU. Go Pokes!