Blood donors make a difference for kids with cancer

South Texas Blood & Tissue Center joins with Bill Miller BBQ to encourage donations in August
August 1, 2019

For cancer patients and their families, blood transfusions make a world of difference. 

Amanda Adriano knows first-hand. Her 3-year-old daughter, Avalynn Ramos, is undergoing chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and she has seen the change happen before her eyes.

“I don’t think it dawned on us how pale she was,” Adriano said. “You could see the difference in her once she received the blood transfusion.”

Almost one in five blood transfusions go to cancer patients like Avalynn, and more than 40 percent of platelet transfusions each year are for those undergoing treatment for cancer.

Those transfusions have to go on year-round – even during the summer, when donations decline by 20 percent or more. The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC) aims to prevent the kinds of blood shortages that have been reported coast to coast this summer, including areas where blood had to be rationed to hospitals.

That’s why Bill Miller BBQ has joined STBTC for the third year in a row to encourage blood and platelet donations at its seven STBTC locations or mobile drives in South Texas. Everyone who donates in August will receive a coupon for a two-piece chicken meal with tea.

Donors can find the closest STBTC location or drive by visiting or calling 210-731-5590.

“It’s a very small amount of giving to help somebody who really needs it,” said San Antonian Dennis Jones, who recently became the fourth 100-gallon blood donor with STBTC. “If you don’t give, and nobody else does, that person won’t get the blood they need or the platelets they need to survive.

“I feel more about giving when I know that it is going to a child, particularly one with leukemia. It just makes me feel good to know that I’m helping somebody.”

Anyone wishing to donate blood must present identification. Donors under the age of 16 must have a signed parental consent form and weigh at least 120 pounds. Anyone over the age of 17 may donate and must be in general good health and weigh at least 110 pounds. All donors are encouraged to eat well and adequately hydrate before and after donation. Refreshments and snacks are provided to donors. In addition, all donors receive a wellness check. Learn more about blood donation at