EL PASO, Texas — An El Paso man is helping communities in Mexico grow their base of blood donations.
Martin Gomez arrived to United Blood Services in El Paso about 16 years ago. His mother, Martha Cervantes de Gomez, was in need of Type O blood. She lived in Ciudad Juarez.
“I came to the United States, and I asked this blood bank for help. They were able to help me with some blood units that I was crossing back and forth,” said Gomez.
“Sadly, my mom did not survive. Now my mission is to help other countries so that what happens to me doesn’t happen to anyone else,” said Gomez.
Gomez is an employee of United Blood Services. He also collaborates with the Global Blood Fund (GBF), a nonprofit organization that helps collect blood resources for some of the world’s poorest nations.
For the past 15 years, Gomez has been helping collect resources, such as bloodmobiles, that are donated from different parts of the U.S.
“With this bus, Mexico is changing their system, and they are hosting more blood drives and having more blood available when people need it in Mexico,” said Gomez.
He has helped transfer seven bloodmobiles to different parts of Mexico.
“All of these bloodmobiles have my mother’s name written on the back of the bus as a memory. It just makes me proud that something sad in my life has become into a positive thing for others,” said Gomez.
According to Gomez, it is uncommon for people in Mexico to voluntarily donate blood.
“In Mexico, most of the blood donations are family donations. People only donate blood in the event of an emergency of a family member,” said Gomez.
With the addition of the bloodmobiles, he has seen a change in the donations.
“Chihuahua, for example, our border state, is No. 1 with volunteer blood donations,” said Gomez.
Gomez expects to help transfer two more bloodmobiles in the upcoming weeks.