By: Susan Gallagher
On a sleepy summer day in Topeka, Kansas, 3-year-old Billy Greenwood was in the back yard playing with his superhero doll when his 4 ½-year-old brother, Gary, decided to tease him by tossing the doll into the yard next door.
He ran into the yard to retrieve the doll, grabbed it and then slid into a lawnmower a 16-year-old was operating. Both his feet ended underneath the mower.
Billy’s mother tried to staunch the flow of blood from her injured child as she drove frantically toward the hospital. Covered with blood, she waved down a police officer who got them to the hospital. Doctors amputated his right leg. He lost all the toes on his left food and a massive amount of blood.
The injury came at such a young age, Greenwood managed to develop his athletic skills and never suffered from a lack of balance. Even with an artificial limb, he played basketball, baseball and soccer and even briefly wrestled in high school.
“I joke that I can do most sports, but I can only swim in circles because I only have one leg,” said Greenwood, who hosts a range of shows for IheartMedia.
The life-changing injury and his success as a broadcaster have made Greenwood a role model for many who have suffered severe injuries. Greenwood has volunteered with several charities including Paralyzed Veterans of America, Shiner’s Hospital and St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
“The accident also made me realize the importance of blood transfusions in surviving traumatic injuries,” he said. “Without transfusions, I know I would not have lived.”
Greenwood has been a blood donor for years, so he happily agreed to wage a Border Blood Battle against KLOU Radio co-host Judi Diamond. Long-time St. Louis resident Diamond is challenging Metro East resident Greenwood to see which state’s residents will donate the most blood at donor centers on Feb.6; Feb. 8 and Feb. 10.
While Greenwood’s wife Melissa is from Edwardsville, he was born in Newport, Rhode Island, where his dad, an armed forces radio broadcaster, was stationed. After his parents divorced, Greenwood lived in Sedalia, MO, where in his teen years, he covered events at his high school for the local radio station.
Greenwood joined that station as a full-time employee after graduation and then in two years moved on to a Columbia, MO, station. When he learned that the Columbia station had a St. Louis affiliate, Greenwood volunteered to broadcast from St. Louis on Sundays. That led to a career in broadcasting that now spans over three decades. From 3 a.m. each morning until late in the evening, Greenwood hosts programs from classic hits to country music and provides material for five shows heard in dozens of cities across the nation.
“My dad was in radio and my brother Gary has for years worked at a station in Lincoln, Nebraska, so radio is in the family genes,” said Greenwood. “Through the years, I have always appreciated the close relationship the listeners have with those of us who are on the air.”
Despite his busy schedule, Greenwood also manages to be involved in the lives of his son Grant, 23, Jack, 7, and Max 5. “Our shih Tzu, Dallas, and Boxer, Bella, are also an important part of our family,” he adds. “They get mad when I don’t include them.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
The Red Cross needs donors because every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. It is essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries. Whether a patient receives whole blood, red cells, platelets or plasma, this lifesaving care starts with one person making a generous donation.
To make an appointment for the Border Blood Battle simply download the Red Cross Blood Donor App or visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter sponsor code TEAMJUDI or TEAMBILLY, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information.
The Border Blood Battle Is happening at the following locations, times and dates:
Team Judi Missouri locations are:
Team Billy Illinois locations are: