INDIANAPOLIS — The party of all parties to kick off the greatest month in racing is right around the corner. Hundreds will gather at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a completely restriction-free Indy REV this year on Saturday, May 7.
All the money raised from food and fun goes back to IU Health trauma and critical care programs.
One of the programs, or people, that has Indy REV entirely to thank is Thomas McDorr, the Trauma Services Chaplain at IU Methodist.
”I am in this position because of REV,” McDorr said.
Part of the funds raised from rev pay for all of McDorr’s salary. Allowing him to do the work he does, like supporting patients when they first come in from a car crash, gun shot wound or other traumatic injury.
”The privilege I get to do is to be that support person in that moment to validate their experience, their feelings,” McDorr said.
From the hospital bed, McDorr and other staff check to see if there is someone they can reach out to for the person.
”Usually, the family is in shock and rightfully so and so usually the next question is, ‘How are they? Are they okay,'” McDorr said.
McDorr also works to check in on his own coworkers as they work through trauma on a daily basis.
”We see more and more healthcare workers leaving their careers because of burnout, because of stress, so I see more and more the need of people like myself to come in and offer that support, that emotional care, that spiritual care to team members,” McDorr said.
Every day is something different for McDorr. A new chance to have a positive impact on someone going through the worst, like his coworker Geovani Galvez.
”July 19 was a day I will always remember for the rest of my life,” said Galvez, who works in the emergency department at IU Methodist.
Galvez has been working at IU Health for six years this month, spending the last two at IU Methodist.
Last July, Galvez tried to take his own life.
”I had waited for the moment when my brother fell asleep because I knew what I wanted to do,” Galvez said, recalling his lowest moments. “I didn’t want to be here anymore. I got his gun and drove off and I shot myself and that’s when the pain was just so horrible and I knew I didn’t want to die.”
Galvez was taken to IU Methodist, where his coworkers and McDorr were waiting for him.
”I remember him being by my side and he asked me if there was anyone he wanted me to call,” Galvez said
McDorr then made one of those calls he’d made so many times before, this time to Galvez’s mother.
”My mom always told me she loves Thomas for what he did, he was so compassionate,” Galvez said.
Galvez had several broken ribs, lost his spleen and his diaphragm had to be repaired from the self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest – but he’s recovered, physically and mentally.
”I feel blessed to have another opportunity with life,” he said.
From his second chance, Galvez was able to help his six-year-old son, Levi. Levi has been battling cancer since he was two.
A few months ago, Galvez was able to donate bone marrow to his son.
”If I would’ve died in July, my son Levi wouldn’t have gotten the transplant and I wouldn’t have been his donor,” Galvez said.
Through all of this, McDorr was there supporting Galvez and his family.
”When we started the process of my son’s transplant he was there, he was able to pray with both of us,” Galvez said.
Coming up on a year since Galvez nearly died, he said McDorr means the world to him for how he helped.
”Those prayers and that love is what got us through it all,” Galvez said.
For McDorr, this is a job he never saw himself doing, until a traumatic experience of his own.
”I was a concertgoer at the Indiana State Fair stage collapse 10 years ago,” McDorr said.
Luckily, McDorr wasn’t injured and was able to help pull people from the wreckage.
“I remember kneeling beside people and praying with them and I remember people just calling out to God in their moment of grief and loss and tragedy and that made a lasting impression,” McDorr said.
From then on, McDorr said he didn’t feel fulfilled in what he was doing, until he became a trauma chaplain.
”I knew whatever I wanted to do with my life I wanted to help people after that event,” McDorr said.
Now, McDorr does just that. Helping people through new and different trauma each day, all thanks to funds raised at REV.