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Fifth Annual Cesar Chavez Blood Drive a Success

Saturday, March 29, 2014
By Eladio Jaimez

Blood DriveThe College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) at Texas State Technical College hosted the 5th Annual National Cesar Chavez Blood Drive Challenge this week and collected 100 pints of blood, more than last year's total of 70.

This year's goal was 80 pints during the two-day drive and CAMP Director Diana Lucio was very pleased with the turnout.

"We're trying to promote community involvement with our CAMP students," Lucio said. "This was a great way to give back to our community and help save lives."

The blood drive is a national competition among colleges and universities to donate blood and bring awareness to the Hispanic culture that blood donation is important, Cameron County Donor Recruitment Representative with the United Blood Services Sadot Azzua said.

She said the drive is held near Cesar Chavez Day on March 31, which is a state holiday in Texas, California and Colorado. The farmworker activist was a proponent of public service and continues to be an influential figure in the Hispanic community.

"One unit (pint) of blood can save three adults of 12 premature babies," Azzua said. "There is no medical recipe or magic to replace blood. We can't go to a pharmacy and ask for more blood. So the only way to fill this need is through volunteers that donate.

Azzua said the majority of the nation's donated blood supply comes from college students and said this competition has been a blessing for the United Blood Services nationwide.

Azzua said that less than two percent of the people in the Valley donate blood and only 5 percent do it statewide.

CAMP Academic Advisor Daisy Avalos said the top 10 schools are recognized nationally with plaques and certificates.

"We're hoping to promote awareness of blood donation among Hispanics in our community," Avalos said.

CAMP student Denney Romo donated for the first time ever and felt good about it afterward.

"You're helping save other people's lives," said Romo, a student in the Education and Training Program. "I'd never done it but I will definitely encourage my family and friends to donate as well."

For Graciela Garcia, it's nothing new. When her grandmother was ill several years back, her mother took the first step and donated blood. Garcia was encouraged and did the same.

Years later, Garcia is still donating blood and pushing others to do the same.

"You never know when you're going to need it too," Garcia said.

United Blood Services is on campus every two months and will be back on April 7 in the VIP Room.

For more information, go to http://www.unitedbloodservices.org.

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