For District 4 City Councilmember Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia, the fight against COVID-19 has gone beyond personal.
Rocha Garcia, who spoke to The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation board of directors at its virtual meeting on Monday, Feb. 8, has lost seven relatives to the pandemic and seen at least 30 fight COVID-19 in the last 12 months. She also has lost at least three members of her church family.
“To say this has taken a personal toll on me, well, it’s just beyond personal with COVID,” she said. “And it’s taken a heavy toll in the district I represent.”
But Rocha Garcia, who already was a blood donor with the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, has found ways to fight back.
She was one of the first members of the city council to sign up for the San Antonio District Challenge in January, in which members of the council sponsored blood drives across the community.
The drives brought in more than 250 donations. District 7, represented by Ana Sandoval, won the challenge, followed by District 9, led by John Courage.
“We’re very competitive on city council, and my district got third place,” Rocha Garcia said. “We’re going for first next time.”
She also has become a major advocate for the center’s COVID-19 convalescent plasma program, in which those who have recovered from COVID-19 donate plasma in hopes of providing virus-fighting antibodies to those who are still sick.
Once again, it’s personal: One of her cousins survived COVID-19 following a convalescent plasma donation.
“My experiences have made me a more vocal advocate for both convalescent plasma and the day-to-day need,” she said. “The need for blood is just going to continue.”
Rocha Garcia thanked staff at the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center and The Foundation board for supporting the community through a difficult year.
“When we look back 10 years from now, we can say we all pitched in with what we’re really good at,” she said. “You all are really good at bringing the community together at a time of need.”