By Dana Simmons, American Red Cross
Pechanga Resort and Casino recently teamed up with the American Red Cross to help hospital patients in need by hosting a blood drive. Among many community members and Pechanga staff that rolled up a sleeve was blood donor Eduardo Trujillo, a Public Safety Officer at Pechanga Resort and Casino. Eduardo didn’t just roll up his sleeve to donate, but also wore his heart on his sleeve while sharing how blood donation has impacted his family.
Eduardo’s 3-year-old son Mateo was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor in December 2019. Despite the tumor not being cancerous, Matteo has been undergoing chemotherapy since the beginning of 2021 and is currently a patient at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California.
During Mateo’s treatment, Eduardo learned about the importance of blood donations. “Chemotherapy, blood and treatments are essential on a day-to-day basis for not just adults but for children and babies,” Eduardo said.
Eduardo shared that Mateo’s blood work is critical before moving on to his next round of chemotherapy. Fortunately, Mateo has not required a blood or platelet transfusion, but Eduardo knows that for many cancer patients that’s not the case.
Platelets are a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients. Some cancers and certain types of chemotherapy and radiation used to treat cancer can affect the body’s bone marrow, where platelets are produced, and a platelet transfusion might be needed to help prevent life-threatening bleeding.
Eduardo and his wife are hoping that Mateo’s chemotherapy treatment will end in March. In the meantime, Eduardo rolled up his sleeve to help those who need it most and he is happy that he could be in service by donating blood. “It’s essential. It’s critical,” Eduardo said. “I know how high the demand is.”
Eduardo hopes that more people take time to donate blood and has a simple message for those that are thinking about it: “You will be glad you did it. You will be able to pat yourself on the back. You were there to take care of whoever needs to be taken care of.”
Make an appointment to give blood or platelets by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).