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2012-07-12

July is National Make a Difference to Children Month

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Each year, thousands of children in Hill Country communities suffer serious illnesses and face health challenges for which blood components are necessary. National Make a Difference to Children Month gives an opportunity to dedicate time, thought or blood donation to children in need.

The Bandera County community can help. The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center Mobile Unit will be at the Grace Lutheran Church, 451 Highway 173 North, from 8:30 am until noon, Sunday, July 15.

Premature babies and children suffering unexpected illness are two types of patients who rely on blood donations from the community. Mazirik Serrano is one of those children.

Shortly after Serrano was born, he began spitting up blood and bled continuously from his mouth and rectum. Physicians discovered he was suffering from gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining, manifested in three ulcers - an extremely rare condition in infants.

Within 24 hours of his diagnosis, Serrano received five units of red blood cells and one of plasma. Today, he is a happy and active four-year-old boy. His mother, Elizabeth, commented, "Like most people, I didn't think anyone in my family would ever need blood. We tend to think there are lots of people out there donating, so I don't need to.

But when something like this happens,
it hits home. Give blood - it's that simple."

The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center is partnering with community organizations and hosting a blood drive in Bandera this month. Anyone who is 16 years old weighing 120 pounds with parental consent form, or at least 17 years old weighing 110 pounds and in good general health may donate blood. Donors must present identification.