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What is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to help someone in need? Donating blood of course! Although we all know that giving blood only requires a small commitment of our time, the simple act can literally save lives – and does every day. One blood donation can save up to three lives and is critical in helping people survive horrible accidents or disease. Although many people come back again and again to donate blood, one donor, a United States postal worker, stands apart from the rest. Now called the “Babe Ruth” of blood donors, Texas postman Marcos Perez has gone above and beyond for the last 34 years. Every two weeks he arrived at South Texas Blood & Tissue Center to give blood. And now he has been credited for saving thousands of lives.
Instead of just donating his blood, Perez chooses to donate blood platelets. These components of blood are integral to saving lives and allows him to donate more often compared to if he was donating whole blood or double red blood cells AKA power red.
“They might live an extra day, a year, a month, who knows. Maybe they will live forever,” Perez said. “Somebody needs these platelets, and there’s no platelets on the shelf.”
Perez has since donated 100 gallons of blood. His donation has saved thousands of people in the process. And he is the fourth person in South Texas to do it.
“Don’t cost me a dime, only some time,” he said. “I’m 57 and I’ve already got 100 gallons! These other people are in their 70’s or 80’s!”
Perez is saving lives during a time for South Texas Blood & Tissue Center when people usually decided to not give. During the summer, the center often sees a drop in the number of blood donations. But the summer time is just as critical for blood as any other time of the year.
“Mr. Perez is what you’d consider an All Star for the blood community here in South Texas,” said Roger Ruiz, a corporate communications specialist for the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC). “Mr. Perez has probably saved patients going through cancer treatments, patients who have been in car accidents, patients who have blood disorders.”
Because Perez was born premature, he needed a blood transfusion to survive. And now he is paying it forward a hundred times.
“When I was growing up, my dad told me a friend of his donated blood for me,” Perez recalled. “His name was Mr. Aguilar. He took the time to donate, so he saved my life.”
Perez personally knows his lifesaver and keeps in touch with the unsung hero. And after Perez’s father died last year, Mr. Aguilar has helped fill the hole in his life.
When Perez made the 100-gallon milestone this week, family and friends gathered to celebrate. Perez is the second San Antonio mailman to give 100 gallons of blood.
“If you make time to go eat, you make time to go to the movies, you can make time to come donate,” Perez said. “Just make some time. Give from the heart. That’s what it takes. You gotta give from the heart.”
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