For Omar Carballosa, the decision to donate blood was easy. The Cuban-born father had previously made blood donations in other countries, particularly during natural disasters that require blood for survivors. This time, he received an email from the Red Cross alerting him to a blood drive and he took the opportunity at once.

“For some people, the donation process may be frightening at the beginning,” Omar said. “The procedure, the needle… it’s not scary at all,” he added. 

Earlier this year, right after the pandemic started, Omar called the Red Cross hotline (1-800-RED-CROSS) and put his name on the list of potential blood donors. His call was in response to a major campaign to attract donations of blood for local hospitals. The recent blood drive in The Woodlands, Texas, was convenient to him because he lives close to the area and was taking his son to a doctor’s appointment nearby on the same day.

He describes his experience as “magnificent,” mainly because he knows his donation will save up to three lives. “The process is very fast,” he commented after donating. “Staff are very efficient and effective.” 

Omar’s motivation to help the Red Cross is based on a clear sense of purpose. “Hospitals are desperately in need of blood. As a single donor it may seem you aren’t making a difference, but you are. The possibility of saving three lives is truly a difference.”

Reflecting further on the value of helping others in this way, Omar said, “Blood donations are an act of compassion; a thing of the heart. I like to say ‘from heart to heart’ I donate blood to save lives.”

Written by Marco Bracamontes. Edited by Mary Jane Mudd, Houston volunteer.