While Yvonne Zapata enjoys working at STBTC, she never actually had plans to work at a blood bank. Her original career goal was a funeral director.
But several experiences pushed her toward blood banking.
While growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, her mother fell ill and was brought to San Antonio to receive medical treatment, including multiple blood transfusions.
Although afraid of needles, Yvonne began to donate blood at 17. When she graduated from high school, she studied to become a medical assistant – and started hearing more about how blood centers work.
Then came the premature birth of her daughter, Justice Lee Ann. Both Yvonne and her tiny baby needed blood following a difficult delivery.
“I didn’t even think where this blood came from,” she says. “I thought it was from a hospital.”
She later applied at a blood center in the Valley and came to a realization: “This is where all this blood is coming from.” When she landed that job, she remembers a pivotal thought.
“This is where I need to be,” she says.
After working at that blood center for 17 years, she applied for a position at STBTC. She got the job, moved her family to San Antonio, and has been with the organization for six years.
She was promoted to Supervisor, Donor Services Mobile Operations last year.
Yvonne brings a gentle and kind nature into her work, taking time to ensure donors are calm and prepared for each step of the donation process.
As a part of preparing donors, she shows them the needle that will be used, as she understands the fear of needles can make donors anxious.
And while she is a regular donor, there’s one thing she never has quite overcome. She still is afraid of needles and does not like to see her own blood drawn.