Have you ever donated blood? Well, if not, it’s not too late to start and the need is great right now.
In fact, it’s the lowest time of the summer for blood donations, yet the highest potential for accidents and blood usage due to heavy traffic out on the roads and highways.
12 News spoke with a 3-time cancer survivor, who went back to thank the team processing blood donations, like the ones that saved his life.
“I really want to thank you guys for everything you do, because before today I didn’t really know all the work that went into the blood before it got to me,” said Jaziel Olmeda, to the team at Vitalant (formerly known as United Blood Services) for the work they do. “Because of you guys, I’m here.”
Olmeda battled cancer for 6 long years. He was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008 and at one point, he came face to face with death.
“I don’t remember that week at all… I was out of it,” he said. “I passed away for two minutes.”
He credits his doctors and the community for saving his life.
“I’m actually one of the fortunate ones, that were able to survive,” said Olmeda. “I received 134 donations.”
After each transfusion, he says he was a whole new person that had color and just wanted to go out and have fun. Olmeda says he completely forgot what he was going through.
He’s spreading the word about the importance of donating blood, especially right now.
“It’s a tough time for the blood supply,” said Sue Thew with Vitalant. “We have just a 1-day supply of both O positive and O negative.”
That’s only about 25% of what they strive to keep on their shelves.
“You can’t wait for an emergency for someone to donate blood,” she said. “It only takes about an hour to go through the blood drive start to finish.”
A simple act that can help save someone’s life, like Jaziel’s.
“Thank you for your selfless act,” he said.
Patients in more than 60 hospitals across the state are depending on blood donors to provide more than 4,000 blood donations this week, and there’s an anticipated shortfall of almost half of those.
The biggest blood drive of the year, the Saving Arizona Blood Drive, is happening tomorrow at the Tempe Center for the Arts, so be sure to head on over and help make a difference.