Tuesday, October 1, 2013
by Raul Jaurequi, volunteer contributor
I popped out of bed early on a Saturday morning and made my way from Dallas to Fort Worth with one mission in mind--I wanted to sit down and talk with a gentleman named Fernando Raga, a member of All Saints Catholic Church for the past 40 years. Raga had orchestrated a blood drive for his Latino community and in honor of Diversity Awareness Month, I wanted to know why Raga feels it’s so important for Latinos to donate blood.
When I encountered Raga, he was moving around fast in the back rooms, pointing volunteers to their assigned areas and taking care of all the details. He squeezed in a few minutes to sit down with me in a quiet room.
The story I heard from Raga was one that inspired me to take action, and I hope it will inspire you too.
Like most people, Raga had a personal reason to encourage blood donations. His wife requires regular blood transfusions so he knows first-hand how critical it is to have blood available the second it’s needed. He coordinates regular blood drives, not just for his wife, but for the many people like her who require blood on a regular basis. His goal is to get at least 23 pints of blood donated at each drive.
A high percentage of Latinos have the universal blood type, which means that our blood can be used by anyone and at any time.
“You don’t realize that blood is needed until the tragedy happens,” said Raga. “But why wait?”
He’s right. Why wait to donate blood? Life is unexpected for all of us, but we can make certain choices now to help us prepare for those unexpected emergencies, and provide hope for those going through tough times. Maybe it’s a child who needs blood, a new mother who hemorrhaged during childbirth or a cancer patient fighting for survival. Blood is needed every minute, every day.
After speaking with Raga, I too was inspired. So I hopped up on the bed and gave a pint. You can do the same, and you don’t have to be Latino. Go to www.redcrossblood.org to make an appointment to donate and to set up a community blood drive in your area. Each donation can save up to three lives. That’s inspirational in any language.