Years ago, an individual started helping people and saving lives by donating platelets. This man from Texas donated his platelets every two weeks for the last 37 years. It was a blood donation which saved Marcos Perez’s life, who was born prematurely. He was inspired tremendously by the transfusion and has been paying it forward ever since.
Perez was still in high school when he donated blood for the first time. He began donating plasma on a regular basis after serving four years in the Air Force. So far, he has paid the donation over 960 times and saved the lives of 3,000 people, according to the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center.
Speaking to CNN, Perez mentioned that it was one of his father’s friends who saved his life. There were no blood banks back then so his dad had to go ask his relatives and other close acquaintances to donate blood for him. Only one man stepped up in the 1960s and that was his father’s co-worker named Tony Aguilar. Perez started donating in 1984, when he was age-wise eligible for it and has been hooked since. He is celebrating his 962nd donation which marked his 120th gallon of blood given.
Instead of whole blood, Perez donates plasma and platelets because it allows him to donate up to 24 times per year. He said that he wishes to continue donating until “they say you can’t.” Perez only hopes others will follow his lead.
The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center plans to recognize Perez and two other 100-plus gallon donors, who have helped save thousands of lives, when they come in to give blood on the same day.
Perez and two others will be also be recognized for hitting another milestone by donating over 100 gallons of platelets to help save lives. “It makes me feel great because I am living proof that blood donations do save lives. If it wasn’t for that one donation I wouldn’t be here celebrating 962 donations,” said Perez. He had the honor of meeting the man who saved his life about seven years ago. Thanks to the blood bank for that. After seeing Perez thank his anonymous donor on television, Aguilar reached out to the blood bank.
Roger Ruiz, corporate communications specialist for nonprofit BioBridge Global told CNN, “One man can’t do it alone. We need to all work together. If we all work together and everybody goes to donate, those shelves will be fully stocked. We don’t all wear capes, but this is one way we can all be heroes for our community."