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Blood Donor Credits Red Cross with Saving His Life

Esteban Zapiain had been giving blood regularly in California for more than five years and made his last visit to the Red Cross Blood Services of Northern California in April of this year. A phone call afterward from the region’s medical staff may have helped saved his life.

Dr. Debra Callahan told Zapiain his white blood count was extremely elevated, that he should see his doctor that day. Although Zapiain had just had his annual physical, he went back to his doctor, who ordered blood work after being told what the Red Cross had found.

Zapiain was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) and is now going through chemotherapy. “I am pleased to report my body is responding amazingly well to the targeted chemotherapy,” he said. “My white blood count is within the normal range. I walked into the Red Cross donation center hoping that my blood might save a life. Instead, the Red Cross saved mine.”

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. Accident victims, as well as cancer patients, patients with sickle cell disease and other blood disorders, burn victims and many others receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in general good health may be eligible to give blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.

Eligible blood donors are asked to please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to find a blood drive and make an appointment.