Postal Worker Marks 100th Gallon of Donated Blood: ‘He’s Saved Over 1,500 Lives’
A Texas postal worker is filling more than just mailboxes — he’s just donated his 100th gallon of blood.
Marco Perez, 57, visits the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC) every two weeks to donate blood.
The San Antonio man hit the triumphant mark in July, but officially celebrated his accomplishment on Aug. 2.
“He’s always answered the call to come in and donate,” Roger Ruiz, STBTC’s corporate communications specialist, told InsideEdition.com.
Perez, a U.S Airforce veteran, started donating blood when he was teenager after he was sent a postcard from a blood bank that sought volunteers.
“I went and tried it and I realized I can donate more,” Perez told InsideEdition.com.
Perez’s father told him his friend of 53 years, Tony Aguilar, donated his blood to Perez, who needed a blood transfusion to survive when he was a baby.
Ever since he heard the tale of the man who saved his life, Perez’s goal has been to donate blood 24 times a year, the maximum amount allowed.
Perez says he had the honor of meeting Aguilar four years ago at the STBTC and he considers him a father figure since his own father died last year.
“One donation just saved my life,” he said. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have 100 gallons right now.”
A mailman since 1990, Perez donates platelets, the blood’s clotting mechanism. He has donated plasma and red blood cells in the past, but platelets are currently in high demand to help cancer patients.
Perez is one of the four acknowledged “all-star donors” at the STBTC, meaning he has reached 100 gallons.
“It feels great,” Perez said. “It’s something that I was shooting for and it took me forever.”
He joins a fellow postal employee who reached 100 gallons in 2011, a donor who just celebrated 115 gallons and another donor who is at nearly 120 gallons.
Ruiz says Perez averages about 2.5 gallons per year.
“It’s safe to say he’s saved over 1,500 lives with his donations,” he said.
Ruiz says summer is a time where donations decrease, but the need for blood is still great. As much as science and technology has advanced, he says there is still no alternative for blood transfusions.
“Without blood donors, cancer patients or people with blood disorders wouldn’t have a fighting chance,” Ruiz said.
Perez often encourages people to donate blood by explaining how simple it is to do so.
He says if you have time to go to the movies, you have time to donate.
“There’s a lot of sick people out there that we don’t know about,” he said. “Just donate, just give — it don’t cost you a dime.”
The donor has no plans on stopping his bi-weekly visits to STBTC.
“I’ll just keep donating until the blood bank says I can’t donate anymore,” he said. “It’s just giving, showing love for a fellow human being.”