Blood recipient aims to help increase blood donations
SAN ANTONIO - Shortages of blood types happen during summertime. With a dip in donations over the recent Memorial Day weekend, the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC) is working hard to maintain the community blood supply at adequate levels for the tough summer ahead.
"Blood and platelet donors are needed now and throughout the summer. With schools closed and families vacationing, lifesaving donations are needed to ensure that blood products, a vital resource to patients every day, are readily available," said Mary Beth Fisk, President and COO for STBTC. "Since students make up 23% of STBTC’s donor base, we are looking to recruit community members who may not have considered donation before. Usage is constant in the hospitals and clinics we serve; therefore, we must continue to encourage the community to donate."
STBTC is introducing a new campaign to gain more donors and it is hitting over 50,000 homes in San Antonio this week. Maria Garcia, a local woman who received blood and platelets throughout six months while doctors tried to properly diagnose and treat her will become a familiar face that helps put a face to the need. She inspires people to give blood in San Antonio and surrounding cities.
"I have my independence back and am able to do things I once was not able to do including spending time with my big family," says the 68-year-old great grandmother. "I am able to do simple tasks once again thanks to donors. I think they have hearts as big as Texas if they can think of somebody else and donate. These patients like me need you to donate today. " 6211 IH 10 West at First Park Ten Blvd. San Antonio, Texas 78201 Phone: 800-292-5534, ext. 1522 Fax: 210-731-5592
Garcia regularly spreads the word about how blood donors saved her life through her giant network of family and friends. On her Facebook page alone, 522 friends have heard her message through notes shared like the one she titled "Our lives can change in an instant." In her spare time, Maria also visits the STBTC to thank donors personally. She hopes the new campaign will bring more people to give of themselves.
STBTC is thanking those who roll up their sleeves throughout the summer with T-shirts and other incentives. Anyone receiving the postcard with Garcia’s picture on it is encouraged to bring it in to their nearest donor room when they donate for an additional appreciation gift.
Five neighborhood donor rooms in San Antonio, one in New Braunfels and in Victoria, Texas accept blood and platelet donations for area patients. Donors can log on to southtexasblood.org and click the Donating for Life icon to make an appointment. Anyone 16 years old weighing 120 pounds (with a parental consent form), or at least 17 years old weighing 110 pounds, and in good general health may donate blood.