A man who has given 120 gallons of blood will be honored in his native Texas for the contribution he’s made to other people’s lives through more than 37 years of donations.
Marcos Perez was born premature and required a blood transfusion to save his life. He received the blood he needed from a family friend and went on to become a consistent donor himself.
The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center said Perez’ blood has helped more than 3,000 people. He recently gave blood for the 962nd time, bringing his total donation to 120 gallons.
He joins a rare group of individuals who have donated more than 100 gallons of blood and will be honored by the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, along with others who’ve achieved the same milestone.
Perez donates plasma and platelets, not whole blood, because this allows him to give more regularly—up to 24 times a year. He told CNN he would continue donating every two weeks until “they say you can’t.”
Perez discussed the importance of blood donations to his own life and urged others to follow his example and give . He started donating when he was in high school and after serving in the Air Force for four years, he began donating plasma and platelets.
“Back then, there were no blood banks so my dad had to go ask his relatives and friends to donate blood for me,” Perez said, recalling his childhood need for a transfusion. “It was one of his friends that saved my life .”
He also called on people to donate blood, saying: “One man can’t do it alone. We need to all work together. If we all work together and everybody goes to donate, those shelves will be fully stocked.”
Maintaining an adequate supply of blood is a problem across the nation, according to Roger Ruiz, corporate communications specialist for nonprofit BioBridge Global. The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is part of BioBridge Global, which describes itself as a “family of nonprofit organizations” involved in regenerative medicine, blood banks and other services.
Ruiz said Perez’ story “is very moving and emotional because you know why he does it – it saved his life.”
Both Ruiz and Perez stressed the need for donations not just to the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center but throughout the country, noting that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected much-needed supplies .
“We don’t all wear capes, but this is one way we can all be heroes for our community,” Ruiz said. “If Mr. Perez’s story moves you, please call your local blood center, set up a donation and be the next 100-gallon donor.”
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