For blood donors at the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde hit home.
“I have a second-grade son,” Monique Espinoza, a blood donor said. “I can’t imagine getting a call, something happening to my son. I just wanted to do what I felt I should do — and that is be here and donate blood.”
Espinoza said she doesn’t have a personal connection to the many victims in Uvalde, but just thinking about the situation brings her to tears knowing she would want someone to donate to help her son.
It’s why she was one of the first to roll up her sleeve at the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center on Wednesday morning.
The center asked people to donate blood following the news of Tuesday’s shooting, which killed 19 elementary students and two teachers. Several others were hospitalized, including four patients that were taken to University Hospital and two patients that were taken to Brooke Army Medical Center.
The 18-year-old male shooter was killed by officers amid the massacre, which was the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Answering the call to help where needed, Espinoza said she will take the time to explain to her son what happened and why donating is important.
“He knew I was coming here this morning but we didn’t get to talk much as to why it’s important, but yes I will talk to him,” Espinoza said.
After Espinoza donates her blood, it won’t be available to use for 24 hours. So even with the 600 donations from Tuesday and over 700 scheduled donations through Saturday, the turnover isn’t immediate and there is a constant need in our community.
Three boxes of O-positive, used in those whole blood transfusions in emergency situations, were sent to Uvalde on Tuesday afternoon.
The shelf that stores the whole blood transfusions units was down to three empty shelves on Wednesday.
Roger Ruiz with the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center said ideally all of those shelves should be full.
“There are standing orders from hospitals across San Antonio,” Ruiz said. “Across 48 counties that we serve, over 100 hospitals and clinics in need. Every four minutes, one of these units is used in our area and that is why it’s a constant need in our area.”
It’s why blood donor Tom Hirzel said he came to donate not just on Wednesday but every four months.
“If you are able it’s always needed,” Hirzel said. “If you can…do.”