Volunteers, the heart of the Red Cross


Antonio Jericó had never donated blood. The reason? The famous fear of needles. He hadn’t even thought of volunteering. However, life is always full of unforeseen events. One of them, his wife’s illness, changed everything.

He is currently 68 years old and “happily” retired. He has been a Red Cross volunteer for almost 9 years in the Blood Extraction Unit for the donation of the Community of Madrid. During these years, Antonio has toured the educational centers of the region with a single purpose: to educate the youngest about blood donation.

“The comfort we live in is not always permanent.” Antonio says it because he has experienced it in the first person. Her wife, a born fighter, survived 3 cancers that kept her in the hospital for 9 months. He did not leave her side for a day.

During these months, he witnessed the lives that were saved daily thanks to the altruistically donated blood of nearly two million citizens in Spain. For this reason, one day of those long 9 months in the hospital he told his wife: “when we get out of here, the first thing we will do is go donate blood.”

And a few days after leaving the hospital, while taking a walk, they passed a Red Cross bus. Chance or fate? He climbed from the hand of his wife and lost that fear that so many times before had prevented him from donating.

By age, he was only able to repeat the donation one more time. Therefore, he decided to collaborate in another way. And from his first meeting at the Red Cross he had it clear: he had to tell his story to the youngest so that they would be aware that blood saves lives.

Why do you have to donate?

Antonio’s talks last a short time, 4 or 5 minutes, enough not to leave any of the attendees indifferent. “In your hands you have smartphones that will soon become obsolete and will design new, more modern models, however, blood cannot be manufactured.”

His goal is to make them see that at some point in their life they or a family member may need blood, and that this can only be obtained through donations. All his talks end in applause.

For Antonio, the most gratifying thing about being a volunteer, “is finishing my intervention and accompanying young people who had never thought of donating, to a donation bus”. But his work does not end here, if someone is left with any questions, he gives them his phone number. “They not only call me to ask me about donating blood, but also to tell me: Antonio, I just donated blood.”

“You don’t have to be retired to volunteer”

What characteristic must a volunteer have? Despite what many people think, you don’t have to be retired to volunteer. “I have many colleagues who are in their physical and working fullness.” And it is that each volunteer contributes his grain of sand according to his availability.

What is needed is to have enthusiasm, a lot of desire and commitment. And, without a doubt, Antonio infects you that enthusiasm when you meet him. Fortunately his story has a happy ending. For this reason, he does not rest in his work to convey this message to the youngest: blood saves lives.

From here we want to thank Antonio and the rest of the volunteers for helping us every day to save more lives thanks to his work to increase blood donations in Madrid. It is a pleasure for us to collaborate with them on a daily basis.

Would you like to join our group of volunteers? It is very easy, you just have to contact us. Also, if you want to know all the activities in which they participate, you just have to click here.

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