From festivals to art shows to community events and more, people around our nation have been gathering since 1988 to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month. Celebrations are held from September 15 to October 15 to honor the Independence Day of several Latin American countries, such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Mexico.
A great way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month is by donating blood. When you give blood, you are potentially saving the life of a friend, a relative, or an acquaintance in the Hispanic community. Nearly 60% of the Latino population has type O blood which is the blood type that is highest in demand.
Jesus, a OneBlood Latino Donor, recognizes this reality and has made it his mission to help save lives in his community. He hopes that his commitment to helping patients in need is an inspiration to other Latinos. We recently spoke to Jesus about his blood donation story and found that his daughter inherited the same passion to save lives.
Tell us a little bit about your blood donation journey.
I've been doing it for about 18 years – maybe even 20 years. I first donated blood at one of the buses and got free tickets to watch the Miami Heat game. It all started from there and I kept going and going. Then my daughter was born and I figured I could show her that it's good to help others in need.
As soon as I was told I could donate platelets, I started doing platelets every two weeks. Then I said, “You know what? Let me see if I can do it once a week.” So, I started donating once a week. I think I'm now up to 38 gallons.
My daughter helps me keep going. She donated once with me and I enjoyed it. She is in college now, so we can’t donate together as often. Overall, I would like to see more Hispanic people donating blood.
How has donating blood impacted your life?
It impacted me a lot because I was able to understand that there are a lot of people in need for blood. It also allows me to spend time with my family because of the rewards we receive from donating blood. I hope my kids follow my footsteps too.
Watch Jesus and his daughter donating blood together:
What words of advice do you have for members of the Hispanic community who are hesitant about donating?
Just try it! Think about the fact that you’re helping someone else.
How do you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?
I like going to Hispanic Heritage events that are held in my community.
Click here to find community events in your area.
What is your favorite Latin tradition?
I enjoy listening to Latin music and dancing. I also enjoy eating Mexican food.
Roll up your sleeve, make a playlist of your favorite Latin music and donate blood in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Click here to find OneBlood locations in your area.