Ruby Silva wasn’t sure if her family was alive or dead when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston.
“I was thinking, ‘This is my hometown, where I grew up.’ Seeing pictures and videos of downtown flooded up to the overpasses, I was like ‘Oh my God! I used to drive through there,’” Silva said. “I was terrified because I knew my family was still there.”
A freshman business major at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, Silva moved to San Antonio Aug. 19, a mere six days before the hurricane made landfall.
Wrought with concern after power outages in Harris County cut off all contact with her parents, Silva said she felt helpless.
Silva, along with many A&M-San Antonio ‘Jaguars’, donated blood on campus during the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center’s fall blood drive from Sept. 11-13.
“People forget about how important blood is after an emergency. It’s something you can do to help that doesn’t cost a thing but time,” Silva said. “You’re saving a life.”
The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center dispatched 1,900 units of blood and platelets to hospitals in San Antonio, Houston, Corpus Christi, and other Gulf Coast-affected communities across the state. Donations were made abroad as well, as units were sent to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irma severely damaged the small island territory.
“Last weekend, our supplies were dangerously low. We had less than a day’s supply of blood on the shelves,” said Michelle Stout, donor recruitment consultant at the Center. “San Antonio has really stepped up to help out patients in need, here and across the region, donating more than 2,500 units of blood.”
The blood drive at A&M-San Antonio will help Harvey relief efforts, according to Roger Ruiz, communication specialist at the Center.
“Of course, the need will continue long after Harvey and Irma fade from headlines, so we’re asking Texans to continue to give the gift of life by donating blood,” Ruiz said.
In Harvey’s aftermath, with power restored, Silva spoke with her family.
“My grandma’s house was hit bad. The roof needs to be redone and there was water damage – but they were safe, and that’s what matters.” Silva said.
While the drive on campus ended, the Center continues to accept donations at each of their five blood centers across the city. Center locations, hours of operation, and donor requirements may be found on the organization’s website: