SAN ANTONIO – After 20 years of service and counting, one San Antonio police detective is now relying on fellow officers and the community he has protected to help save his own life.
Officer Roland Perez has a chronic form of leukemia. On Saturday, dozens tested to see if they were a match for a blood and bone marrow transplant to help Perez.
Behind Perez’s confident and pleasant demeanor lies a desperate need.
“I’ve been going in once a week, getting transfusions,” he said.
Since October, Perez has been battling myelodysplastic syndrome.
“It’s kind of a hard pill to swallow for all of us. Just to see him get weak and lose weight, and just go through the cancer process, it weakens everyone,” said Desiree Perez, Perez’s daughter.
Fellow officers and some community members Roland Perez has never even met showed up to the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center to prove that he isn’t fighting this battle alone.
“It helps a lot. It helps with your morale, knowing that they're behind you. They say hi to you, come up and shake your hand,” Roland Perez said.
It’s a drive fueled by a mutual respect between the community and law enforcement.
“Police officers put themselves out there for us every day, so this is an opportunity for all of us to give back to Officer Perez, his family,” said Mary Uhlig, director of communications for the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center.
Even if he doesn’t find a donor from Saturday’s drive, Perez said he’s happy knowing all of the efforts made won’t go to waste.
“There are other people that need bone marrow, so hopefully this will help someone else,” he said.
Perez remains humble, but his family said his survival depends on a bone marrow transplant.
Anyone who wasn’t able to make it to the event but would like to see if they are a match can click here for more information.