Rise in auto accidents and other traumas is straining the South Texas blood supply. Help patients by scheduling your donation today!

San Antonio, Bexar County declare blood shortage emergency 

Dramatic drops in blood donations by younger and first-time donors in South Texas, combined with a rapidly growing population and the current surge of COVID-19 cases, have left the region facing an unprecedented blood shortage, community and medical leaders said at a news conference Friday. 

“We are here today to declare a blood emergency in San Antonio, Bexar County and the metro area,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.  

Blood centers and the hospitals they serve aim for a seven-day supply of blood at any given time, with three days at the minimum.  

South Texas Blood & Tissue, the supplier for more than 100 hospitals in 48 counties in the region, had a two-day supply on Friday, but just a half-day of critically needed type O-positive, said Dr. Samantha Gomez Ngamsuntikul, Associate Medical Director at South Texas Blood & Tissue. 

“During the pandemic, we have seen a 60% drop in donors age 16-19 and also a 30% drop in first-time donors,” she said. “New donors and young donors are the key to having a sustainable blood supply.” 

More than 1,200 blood drives were canceled in 2020 and drives added last year were fairly small, as remote learning and concerns about the pandemic have hampered collections at schools, universities and businesses across the city. That limited opportunities for younger people and new donors to give, she said. 

The need for blood is up an average of 15% from pre-pandemic levels, mainly because of the area’s rapid population growth. 

“This is unprecedented,” said Dr. Leslie Greebon, Medical Director of Transfusion Services at University Hospital. “This level of shortage, I have not seen in my 10-plus years in medicine. 

“And my predecessor, who practiced here for over 40 years, says he never experienced this level of shortage.” 

Dr. Joyce Schwartz, Blood Bank Director at Methodist Hospital System, called it “truly a life-or-death situation.” 

“There is no substitute for blood, and in the past few months our hospitals have experienced a severe shortage of blood,” she said. “Our patients are dependent on blood donors showing up every single day.” 

Patients’ needs for transfusions – the most common procedure performed every year in U.S. hospitals – will continue to grow, the mayor said, noting that the demand will not end with the end of the pandemic. 

“Five new hospitals were announced this past year,” Nirenberg said. “We can’t wait until these new facilities are open to address our chronic blood shortage.” 

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said all members of the community should to give blood – but especially younger people. 

“It’s hard for us to reach you today, but it’s important for younger people to step up,” he said. 

Latest COVID-19 surge leads to multiple blood drive cancellations, potential loss of donations

South Texas Blood & Tissue working with medical community to manage critically low supply

The current surge in COVID-19 cases because of the Omicron variant in South Texas has led to the cancellation of at least eight blood drives with South Texas Blood & Tissue, with the potential loss of more than 400 donations.

Blood supplies already were tight coming out of the holiday season, and the cancellations have led South Texas Blood & Tissue to contact local medical leadership about conserving the available blood supply. South Texas Blood & Tissue, a subsidiary of San Antonio nonprofit BioBridge Global, currently has less than one day’s supply of type O blood.

“COVID has disrupted donations in ways we never knew possible,” said Adrienne Mendoza, Vice President of Operations, South Texas Blood & Tissue.

Unlike some previous shortages, there is nowhere to turn for additional blood as the entire nation is experiencing a shortage.

One of the biggest emergency needs is for hospital patients with advanced cases of COVID-19. A device called ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) is used to remove carbon dioxide from the blood and add oxygen when the patient’s lungs are unable to do so. Patients connected to the ECMO machine often experience blood volume loss and need transfusions.

Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those undergoing treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease need transfusions on a regular basis as well.

In addition, some blood centers in Texas have had to postpone blood drives because of staffing shortages. At this time, cancellations in our area are mostly attributed to host groups concerns over the high incidence of Omicron COVID-19 cases in their group/organization.

South Texas Blood & Tissue is able to accommodate the blood drives already scheduled but needs the community’s help to fill available vacancies for donor appointments and to host blood drives to meet the local needs.

Blood donations at South Texas Blood & Tissue’s seven donor rooms and mobile drives need to reach 600 a day to meet patient needs and rebuild the depleted supply.

Those who have received a flu or COVID-19 vaccine or booster are eligible to donate immediately, and those who have recovered are eligible to give as well, as long as they are feeling well and not displaying any symptoms. South Texas Blood & Tissue is also taking precautions with masks for employees, sanitation and social distancing.

“For people looking for a way to give back and start the new year off on the right foot, come out and donate,” Mendoza said. “Donating blood is an easy way to give back in a really meaningful way.”

Donors can make an appointment with South Texas Blood & Tissue by calling 210-731-5590 or visiting SouthTexasBlood.org. Same-day appointments and walk-ins are available at the center’s seven donor rooms, as well as at community blood drives. Donors at least 17 years old (16 with parental consent) and in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

South Texas Blood & Tissue declares blood emergency

South Texas patients need donors to make up dramatic shortfall in donations during holidays. Metro Health asks individuals to donate.

Rising demand for blood transfusions and concerns about fewer donations are leading to a potential healthcare crisis in South Texas during the upcoming holiday season.

As a result, South Texas Blood & Tissue has declared a blood emergency. Not enough blood may be on hand for trauma cases and patients who need emergency surgeries, and the day-to-day needs of cancer patients, new mothers and those undergoing surgery are likely to be affected.

“Because of the dire shortage of the city’s current blood supply, Metro Health is asking the community to donate blood today to South Texas Blood & Tissue to help replenish supply that can help with patients’ medical needs,” said Metro Health Director Claude A. Jacob.

According to South Texas Blood & Tissue, a subsidiary of nonprofit BioBridge Global, projections for Dec. 20-Jan. 15 show an average daily gap of more than 120 donations from what is anticipated to be needed by patients.

Orders for blood from the region continue to be up about 10% from last year, with some hospitals seeing even sharper increases. Blood centers across the nation are reporting similar high demand, said Adrienne Mendoza, Vice President, Blood Operations at South Texas Blood & Tissue.

Even before the holidays begin, blood donor turnout has declined, leaving the blood inventory at less than one day’s supply, far below the ideal of 5-7 days. South Texas Blood & Tissue has alerted hospitals that the blood supply is expected to be further strained unless more donors come forward to give during the holidays.

“The holidays are always a difficult time for the blood supply as many people go on vacation and schools and universities go out for winter break,” said Mendoza. “But this year, without the normal bump in donations in October and November, blood is in especially short supply. It only takes 30-45 minutes to donate blood and possibly save up to three lives.”

While total blood donations are up by more than 2% from a year ago, the increase has not been enough to keep up with the growing demand for blood.

In previous years, blood centers across the country could help each other maintain their supplies, but the current shortages stretch from coast to coast.

“Please donate blood today and encourage your friends and family to do so,” Mendoza said. “Make it a family tradition during the holidays.”

South Texas Blood & Tissue is asking donors to visit one of its seven donation locations or find a mobile blood drive by visiting SouthTexasBlood.org. Donors can call 210-731-5590 for information or to make an appointment. Appointments are available across all the region’s blood donor rooms, and the only day the donor rooms will be closed is on Christmas Day. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are encouraged.

Donors also can schedule a blood donation at University Hospital by calling 210-358-2812 or visiting DonateBloodToday.com.

Advanced therapies eyeing a steep upward curve

When Adrienne Mendoza looks at the potential for growth of advanced therapies in South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, she doesn’t see just a gradual upward growth.

The Vice President of Blood Operations sees the possibility for a steep exponential growth curve because of recent clinical successes in cell and gene therapies and the interest by market leaders in sourcing donations of starting cells from South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.

“When you look at the potential for both new and existing customers developing these new therapies, each of these customers may find success in their clinical trials, and we will then see the next growth surge. It’s when our customers find success that we’re looking at the possibility for exponential growth,” she said.

STBTC Center for Advanced Therapies, along with GenCure and QualTex Laboratories, is part of the ever-­expanding field of cellular and immune therapies, assisting with various phases of research into therapies to cure chronic, debilitating and degenerative diseases.

“We’re already seeing more and more companies coming to us, and more of our existing customers bringing more projects to take on,” Mendoza said. “We are also seeing those customers provide referrals to others.”

The new department Center for Advanced Therapies includes the teams of life legacies tissue, cord blood and birth tissue, apheresis services and clinical research.

The Center for Advanced Therapies in STBTC is working with organizations developing new cell and gene therapies, helping researchers find cell donors to support each major stage of the clinical trials process that leads up to a new drug or biologic FDA approval.

The work includes building a database of donors interested in a chance to enroll in trials to support patients fighting for their lives and eager to see if donor cells can save their lives. Once selected, the donor is reimbursed for time and travel to support the trial. Anyone is welcome to sign up on the research study database.

“As Vivienne Marshall (Senior Director, Center for Advanced Therapies) puts it, we are now all about ‘care’ and ‘cure’ as an organization,” Mendoza said. “We take care of people who need blood donations, and now we’re helping advance research to cure diseases.”

STBTC already has supplied donations of specialized cells to several major clients, including for Phase 1 clinical trials for patients with cancers not responding to other treatments.

“When the trials progress to Phase 2, we’ll be providing even more donor cells – since the trials will expand to enroll more patients at more hospitals,” Mendoza said.

Cells from deceased donor tissue, as well as birth tissue, also have the potential to aid researchers in developing advanced therapies for a range of conditions from eye disease to cancer.

“It’s only a matter of time before this all starts to grow really fast,” Mendoza said. “Starting with our growth in the field, then all our existing customers growing, and finally new business growth. It just has worlds of potential.”

Rise in auto accidents and other traumas strains South Texas blood supply

Some victims need 20-25 units of blood

In San Antonio and across the nation, emergency room doctors are seeing frighteningly high increases in trauma cases, many from car accidents, which are up dramatically.

The first line of treatment for those victims is blood transfusions. Sometimes, many, many transfusions.

“In some cases, we are giving them 20-25 units of blood at a time. A healthy individual probably has 10 units of blood in their system,” said Dr. Donald Jenkins, a leading trauma surgeon at University Hospital and a professor of surgery at UT Health San Antonio.

“So they’re getting two-and-a-half times their normal blood supply to replace the blood they’ve lost.”

Dr. Jenkins and colleagues are appealing to major employers and members of the community across South Texas to donate blood.

“God forbid it would be somebody that you know who needed to be on the receiving end of a transfusion and we didn’t have it to give,” he said.

“The blood supply in South Texas – and in fact, the entire country – is critically low,” said Adrienne Mendoza, Vice President, Blood Operations at South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, a subsidiary of San Antonio-based nonprofit BioBridge Global.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the first half of 2021 experienced the largest six-month increase ever recorded in its system for recording highway accident fatalities.

A new report shows an estimated 20,160 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first half of 2021, up 18.4% from 2020.

To give blood, donors can make an appointment with:

In just the last week, the need for blood at the University Hospital trauma center and other local hospitals has spiked, and trauma teams have been forced to use large quantities of blood for severely injured patients. Each of those blood units, in turn, must be replaced by donors, since there is no substitute for human blood.

Dr. Jenkins said the large number of severe trauma injuries is straining the entire healthcare system, and local individuals and businesses need to step up to help replenish the community supply.

“You may have been told you can’t donate in the past, because you lived in Europe or for some other reason. Many of those restrictions have been lifted now,” he said. He urged donors, especially those who had not been able to give because of military service in Europe, to check on their eligibility. For questions about eligibility, donors can call 210-731-5555 and ask for extension 2243.

Grief rituals: Honoring memories

Dia de los Muertos is beginning soon, and it brings with it a reminder to celebrate and remember our loved ones who have passed.

Personal grief rituals are those loving activities that help us remember our loved ones, and give us a sense of connectedness, healing and peace. Creating and practicing personal grief rituals can also help us release painful situations and unpleasant memories, freeing us to make our memories a positive influence in our lives.

What follows are a few examples of personal grief rituals. The ideas are as unique and as varied as the people who invented them. Think of ways that you can adapt them and make them your own.

You are limited only by your imagination.

  • If you’re a writer, write—it could be an article, an anecdote, a story, a poem, a song, a letter an obituary or a eulogy. You don’t have to write for someone else. Keep a private journal and write about your feelings as you journey through your grief.
  • Buy a very special candle, decorate it and light it in honor of your loved one.
  • Purchase a book – perhaps a children’s book – on coping with the loss of a loved one, and donate it to your local library or school. Place a label inside the front cover inscribed “In memory of [your loved one’s name].”
  • Plant a tree, bush, shrub, garden or flower bed as a permanent growing memorial to your beloved. Mark the site with a memorial plaque, marker, bench or statue.
  • Memorialize your beloved in cyberspace by lighting a virtual candle at Gratefulness.org/Light-A-Candle.
  • Write a special note, letter, poem, wish or prayer to your beloved. Go outside, attach the paper to a balloon and let it go – or place it in a vessel and burn it, and watch the smoke rise heavenward.
  • If you are harboring bad feelings or regrets, gather symbols to represent those hurtful or painful situations, events, or feelings from your past. Place them in a container and hold a private burial or burning ceremony, saying goodbye and releasing them as you do so.
  • Ask relatives, friends, co-workers and neighbors to gather their contributions, and put together a scrapbook or box of memories containing mementos, letters and photographs of your loved one.
  • Celebrate the life of your loved one by continuing favorite traditions or eating favorite foods.
  • Select a Valentine card that you wish your beloved would have picked for you, and mail it to yourself.
  • Give yourself a gift from your loved one that you always wished he or she would have given you, and think of your beloved whenever you see it or wear it.

*Please seek the advice of a medical professional for any problematic symptoms.

Surgeries at risk of being postponed because of blood and platelet shortage

Additional 200 donors a day needed at South Texas Blood & Tissue Center to meet patient needs

Patients in areas served by South Texas Blood & Tissue Center are facing an emergency blood and platelet shortage, as donations have not kept pace with demand this fall.

Blood donations are averaging around 400 units per day at the blood center’s seven donor rooms, as well as at community blood drives. The center needs 600 donations per day to meet patient needs around the South Texas area.

As a result, the local supply is now at critical levels, with direct impact on patients needing surgeries.

“With the lower than expected blood donor turnout, we are unable to fill all of the orders we are receiving from hospitals,” said Dr. Samantha Gomez Ngamsuntikul, Associate Medical Director of the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, a subsidiary of San Antonio nonprofit BioBridge Global. “We are working with area hospitals to evaluate virtually every order for blood.”

Orders for blood by hospitals have remained strong and continue to outpace donations. Surgeries postponed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 are now being rescheduled; however, they are now at risk of being postponed again.

“The platelet shortage in our area could lead to delayed or canceled surgeries,” said Adrienne Mendoza, Vice President of Blood Operations for the center. “We are feeling the impact of the low donor show rate caused by the severe rain and flooding last week.”

One of the largest needs right now is for platelets, which are the blood component that helps form clots and stop or prevent bleeding. Ashley is one of countless patients who benefited from platelet donations.

A few weeks after she gave birth to her first child, she began losing blood at home. Her husband called 911, and paramedics rushed her to the hospital. After losing so much blood, Ashley remembers one of the biggest problems at the hospital was finding enough blood for her.

She spent 16 days in the ICU and needed 19 units of blood, four units of platelets and four units of plasma, along with emergency surgery to remove her uterus, to save her life.

“In those moments after receiving blood, you feel like you have life in you again. You have that energy again to keep fighting for your life,” she says.

She is home now and feels blessed to be alive.

“I am forever grateful for the donors,” Ashley says. “I just wish I knew each person that donated their blood to be able to call and say thank you for saving my life. I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for the donors.”

Blood and platelet donations can be made at any of the seven donor rooms. Walk-ins are welcome. To make an appointment or find a donor room, call 210-731-5590 or visit SouthTexasBlood.org.

Those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 are able to donate blood, platelets or plasma after receiving it. In most cases, there is no wait time for those who received a COVID-19 vaccine if donors are symptom-free and feeling well at the time of donation.

Community Labs testing at Laredo ISD middle school

Community Labs, which performs COVID-19 PCR tests for schools and businesses, is expanding to school districts in Laredo and San Marcos.

The testing laboratory is located in the Headquarters Building, and Community Labs announced last month that it is expanding its capabilities to 50,000 tests a day, up from 15,000.

The first testing in Laredo was done at Lamar Middle School, and the Laredo ISD produced a video with school and Community Labs officials, as well as students.

The goal of Community Labs testing is to make schools “safe zones” by identifying asymptomatic cases of COVID-19.

South Texas Blood & Tissue Center opens helicopter landing pad

Helipad to resupply blood for emergency medical providers, aid in major trauma care 

To aid in the emergency use and delivery of blood in South Texas, the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center has built the first helicopter landing pad for a blood center in the state. 

The landing site, which is between the BioBridge Global Headquarters Building and its Annex Building on San Antonio’s northwest side, is designed to serve two purposes: 

  • Allow medical helicopters that carry specially screened units of whole blood to restock supplies as needed 
  • Provide a location for helicopters to pick up blood for delivery to major trauma events or natural disasters 

“Making this option available is just part of our commitment to saving lives,” said Adrienne Mendoza, Vice President, Blood Operations at the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, a subsidiary of San Antonio-based nonprofit BioBridge Global.  “Since we serve such a large area, it just made sense to provide this to helicopter operators as an option.” 

The center helped launch a first-of-its-kind civilian system for using whole blood on helicopters more than two years ago. That system since has expanded to EMS units in multiple South Texas fire departments, including the San Antonio Fire Department, as well as hospital emergency rooms across the 40-plus counties the center serves. 

Specially screened type O-positive blood donations for the program come through the blood center’s Brothers in Arms program

“The landing pad also could help us quickly supply blood in the case of a mass casualty or weather event as part of the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps, the new national emergency blood supply system,” Mendoza said.  

Emergency deliveries could be made within the operating range of the helicopters to medical facilities or remote locations, she said. 

Previously, whole blood used on medical emergency helicopters was restocked via van delivery by the center’s Hospital Services team. (That option still remains open to the 12 agencies that operate the helicopters.) 

But helicopters often cannot wait at either of the city’s level I trauma centers because of the high cost of operations and the potential for additional emergency needs for the hospitals’ helipads. 

“We couldn’t always make those connections,” said John Barry, Director, Hospital Relations and Distribution for the blood center. “When they would go back without blood, then we would have to figure out that night or the morning after how we were going to get blood back to them.” 

Restocking by ground delivery wasn’t a major issue for local agencies, but the whole blood program also is on helicopters as far away as Laredo and Carrizo Springs. Having a place for those helicopters to land and restock before returning to base just made sense, he said. 

Barry, who was part of a similar system for whole blood use on medical emergency helicopters while in the military, worked with one medical helicopter operator to identify a location for the landing pad in a little-used parking lot. 

“We got on Google Maps (of the parking lots) and we put it on the big screen,” Barry said. “We said, ‘Well, you can land two helicopters here.’ That was how the plan started.”  

He then learned about the technical requirements, including lights, a windsock, a new asphalt base and markings, and the project was completed in less than a month. 

The idea originated during a meeting with the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council, an organization designed to develop, implement and maintain regional trauma and emergency healthcare system for 22 counties in South Texas. 

GenCure reaches out to East Side community

The team at GenCure biomanufacturing is becoming a part of the rapidly growing community on San Antonio’s East Side.

After seeing a flyer about the nearby Martinez Street Women’s Center needing items for its after-school programs, members of the team filled two empty offices with donations from snacks to sporting goods.

“One of the goals of Velocity TX and Merchants Ice was to be part of the revival of the East Side, and this was a great opportunity for us to make a difference,” said Becky Cap, Chief Operating Officer, GenCure.

The Martinez Street Women’s Center provides health services, youth programs and advocacy opportunities for women and girls.

“This won’t be the last time we do something like this,” said Amanda Whitelonis, Program Manager, GenCure. “We want to support the organizations and small businesses that are our neighbors.”

Community Labs expanding capabilities to 50,000 COVID-19 tests a day 

Community Labs, the COVID-19 rapid-testing laboratory working in partnership with BioBridge Global, soon will be able to boost testing from 15,000 to 50,000 samples a day. 

The nonprofit laboratory made the announcement on Friday, Sept. 17, its one-year anniversary. Community Labs, which now has processed more than 1 million COVID-19 tests, is focused on helping schools safely return students to the classroom, allowing parents to return to work and communities to recover.  

“BioBridge Global is thrilled to have played a role in bringing this groundbreaking service to our community,” said Martin Landon, Chief Executive Officer of BioBridge Global. 

The increase in daily capacity is the result of a testing method called pooling used in QualTex Laboratories, a subsidiary of BioBridge Global, Landon said. The additional testing capacity comes just a year after the entire testing process was set up in the span of two months. 

“The speed at which our team was able to develop a functioning laboratory was remarkable,” said Community Labs co-founder Graham Weston. “In 60 days, we went from an idea to piloting the concept of assurance testing.”  

Community Labs is providing highly accurate PCR (polymerase chain reaction) screening at 350 school campuses across Bexar County, as well as six college campuses, said Sal Webber, President of Community Labs. 

“What we’ve learned this year is that virus transmission is not happening in the schools that implement assurance testing,” Webber said. “During the 2020-2021 school year we saw an average positivity rate in schools of 0.5%, well below the more than 10% positivity rate we saw at public testing sites.” 

Results from the highly accurate PCR tests are coming back in an average of 19 hours, allowing schools to quickly identify those who test positive and isolate them from the general population. 

Dr. Rachel Beddard, Chief Medical Officer at BioBridge Global, said the need for testing will continue to grow. 

“To help meet this need, we are significantly expanding our Community Labs testing capacity, from 15,000 a day now to more than 50,000 tests a day within the next two weeks,” she said. “We’re able to accomplish this by adopting a process for pooling test samples that is similar to how we perform high-volume screening of blood and plasma donor samples for hepatitis, HIV, West Nile and other viruses.” 

Community Labs was co-founded in 2020 by Weston, former CEO and chairman of Rackspace Technology and founder of the 80|20 Foundation; J. Bruce Bugg Jr., chairman and trustee of The Tobin Endowment; and J. Tullos Wells, managing director of The Kronkosky Charitable Foundation. 

South Texas Blood & Tissue Center joins nation’s first emergency blood reserve

Partnership of seven community blood centers launches blood emergency program in commemoration of 20th anniversary of 9/11

The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, a subsidiary of San Antonio nonprofit BioBridge Global, is helping to launch a first-in-the-nation partnership to ensure blood will be available in mass trauma situations and natural disasters. 

Blood centers have faced nationwide blood shortages as thousands of blood drives have been cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, straining the national safety net.  

While in the past, blood centers had inventory on hand to quickly share with other communities in a blood emergency, today this backup supply plan is increasingly unstable. As the primary blood supplier for the region, South Texas Blood & Tissue Center collaborated with other blood centers to create the new program to be proactive in emergency planning – both for mass trauma events that require large volumes of blood, and for natural disasters such as hurricanes that can cripple blood collections.

“The blood emergency program is an opportunity to engage socially minded individuals, community leaders and major employers to work with us and ensure blood is available in the case of mass trauma situations – whether that’s a major accident, a mass shooting such as Sutherland Springs, or a natural disaster such as a hurricane or the 2021 Texas ice storm,” said Adrienne Mendoza, Vice President, Blood Operations at the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.

The Blood Emergency Readiness Corps is made up of blood centers from five states that have committed to collecting extra blood units on a rotating, “on-call” schedule. The extra blood products will be held in reserve for any critical-need scenario.

If no emergency situation arises, the blood products will be returned to South Texas Blood & Tissue Center’s general inventory, to be used for local needs.

“This is the first step in the right direction to being prepared for the unthinkable situation,” said Dr. Donald Jenkins, with UT Health/University Health System Trauma Care. “Being ready with a supply of blood for the communities is a great idea.”

The program includes the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, We Are Blood (serving the Austin area), Carter BloodCare (Dallas), Houchin Community Blood Bank (Southern California), Oklahoma Blood Institute, the Community Blood Center (Wisconsin), and Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank.

The announcement of the partnership came on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

“While it is a solemn occasion, recognizing 20 years since 9/11, it’s probably very appropriate that we have the recognition that we are still in this together,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.

To schedule a blood donation visit SouthTexasBlood.org or call 210-731-5590. You also may call University Hospital’s donor center at 210-358-2812 or visit DonateBloodToday.com.