Survivor inspired school district leaders across Bexar County to donate blood
Inspired by 10-year-old Uvalde survivor Mayah Zamora and the 1-year anniversary of the school shooting, superintendents and top administrators from San Antonio and surrounding areas gathered to donate blood at South Texas Blood & Tissue on Tuesday.
“We all exist in this world together; we have to help one another,” said Sean Maika, Superintendent of North East Independent School District. “This is a small, simple little task to help someone, and you’ll never know who it is.”
Twelve school district executives donated blood in solidarity with the Uvalde community and were able to meet Mayah, who has become an advocate for blood donation after her life was saved in part thanks to several blood transfusions after being injured in the shooting at Robb Elementary School in May 2022.
“It was just an honor and a pleasure to meet Mayah and her family,” said Kenneth Thompson, Deputy Superintendent of San Antonio Independent School District. “This is our sister school district, so I want to support them. At times like these, it’s important for districts to come together and support one another.”
Christina and Ruben Zamora, Mayah’s parents, have met and thanked everyone from emergency medical technicians to trauma surgeons involved in the care of their daughter. They wanted to meet and encourage the school leaders to donate as well, they said.
“San Antonio has been pushing to help in this tragedy and something beautiful is coming out of it – saving lives,” said Ruben Zamora about the blood donations.
School blood drives supply more than 20% of the blood South Texas Blood & Tissue collects each year. In addition to donating, the school leaders also wanted to encourage those eligible and their school communities to donate.
One of the blood donors whose donation went on to save Mayah was Adrianna Garcia, who was a student at the time she donated at her high school’s blood drive.
“A 17-year-old helped to save a life and that’s something that will stay with her forever,” Christina Zamora said. “Adrianna is an example of that, of the hero you can be at such a young age.”
The district leaders who participated in donating blood were:
- Alamo Heights ISD – Dr. Dana Bashara, Superintendent
- North East ISD – Dr. Sean Maika, Superintendent
- Somerset ISD – Dr. Jose H. Moreno, Superintendent
- South San Antonio ISD – Henry Yzaguirre, Superintendent
- East Central ISD – Roland Toscano, Superintendent and Shane McKay, Executive Director of Student and Community Engagement
- Harlandale ISD – Gerardo Soto, Superintendent; Dr. Juan Hinojosa, Executive Director of Operations; and Richard Hernandez, Assistant Superintendent of Finance
- San Antonio ISD – Dr. Ken Thompson, Deputy Superintendent, and Lt. Rene Cano, SAISD Police Department
- Southwest ISD – Dr. Jeanette Ball, Superintendent, and Jenny Collier, Chief Communications Officer
- Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD – Dr. Clark Ealy, Superintendent
- Judson ISD – Teresa Ramon, Chief of Police
- Edgewood ISD – Olga Moucoulis , Chief of Staff, and Lauren Blevins, Marketing and Communications Director
- Northside ISD – Dr. John Craft, Incoming Superintendent, and Dr. Brian Woods, Superintendent
Jeanette Ball, Superintendent of Southwest Independent School District, spent five years as the superintendent of Uvalde ISD and said since the tragedy, school leaders have been doing everything they could think of to help and encourage the community in South Texas. Donating blood is one huge way to give back, she said.
“More than ever, I want to encourage people to do this,” she added. “There’s so much tragedy, sadness, and negativity every day in our world, we’ve got to start to make a difference and be more positive. We’ve got to bring back humanity and helping people.”
For more information, donors can call 210-731-5590 or visit SouthTexasBlood.org.