It was the blood on the shelves that went to help Uvalde shooting victims
SAN ANTONIO – On the day of the Uvalde tragedy one year ago, South Texas Blood & Tissue was able to send 25 units of blood to Uvalde via helicopter within 67 minutes to be available for patients. Those lifesaving blood units were only available because of the selfless actions of donors prior to the tragedy and went on to save 10-year-old Mayah Zamora.
“We’re forever grateful to the people who saved my life,” Mayah said, “and I hope my story will let people know how important donating blood is to saving lives.”
Mayah received blood transfusions in the ambulance going to a hospital in Uvalde, and in a helicopter on the way to a San Antonio trauma center. She endured more than 60 days in the hospital and underwent multiple surgeries that required more blood transfusions following the shooting at Robb Elementary.
The day of and immediately following the shooting, more than 1,500 blood donations were collected for patients in need, the most since Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast in 2017.
The response was so great that the blood center expanded capacity at its single largest donor site, the Donor Pavilion. The blood drive in Uvalde was extended by four hours because of the response from the devastated community.
Shortly after, blood donations dropped yet again. On average, only 3% of those who are able to give blood in U.S do each year, and locally, about 350 generous blood donors make their way to South Texas Blood & Tissue each day, but this is short of the 600 per day needed by area hospitals.
“You’ve got to make something good out of something so bad. This is something [advocating for blood donation] that is part of the good that she can do,” said Mayah’s mom, Christina.
Several weeks before the tragedy in Uvalde, seventeen-year-old Adrianna Garcia donated blood for the first time at a drive at Poteet High School, and that donation was one of several used to save Mayah’s life. Adrianna has since become a regular blood donor and an advocate for donation after learning the impact of her decision to give and meeting Mayah in January.
“It feels amazing knowing that this little girl, she went through something very traumatic in her life, knowing that I could help her and she’s living because of me and other donors,” Adrianna said.
“It was the blood given by generous donors in the days ahead of Uvalde that was ready for Mayah that tragic day. By becoming a regular blood donor and giving four times a year, you’ll help our community be ready at any time for any tragedy or need,” Adrienne Mendoza, Chief Operating Officer of South Texas Blood & Tissue said.
Because emergencies are unpredictable, the public is encouraged to donate regularly, aiming for at least 4 donations per year, which goes to help trauma victims, mothers in childbirth, cancer patients, and so many more. Blood donations can be made every 56 days, and donors are encouraged to give four times a year.
As we begin the summer, blood donations typically decline because there are no school drives and fewer donors are available due to travelling.
To schedule an appointment, visit SouthTexasBlood.org or call 210-731-5590.