EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A national blood blank, including a facility here in El Paso, continues to urge community members to keep saving lives. However, this time you can do so while providing assistance with tuition costs for up and coming college students.
Donating blood is always needed around this time of year, but currently there’s a unique scholarship program at Vitalant that provides El Pasoans the chance to also help local students go to colleges they’re aiming for.
“You’re saving a life to others. To a mom, a daughter, to a family. Not just that, but you’re always helping college students relieve their tuition because tuition costs are really high right now,” Jackelyn Castanon, future student at Texas Tech University shared.
Castanon and Sara Trevizo are local students working to become future nurses. They are also enrolled in Vitalant’s Student Leader Scholarship Program.
“Since I was little, my mom was diagnosed with cancer and seeing the nurses help her and get her through everything she’s been through is what inspired me to go into the nursing field,” Trevizo, future student of University of New Mexico said.
“I want to become a nurse because when I was smaller, my grandpa went through this very harsh therapy with his back,” Castanon added, “The doctors told him there wasn’t any chances of him moving again and he just was really down. No one in the family could help motivate him and the nurse always stood by his side and I’ll always remember that.”
With financial struggles among many El Pasoans due to the pandemic, tuition for college may come at a higher cost. Vitalant recently received a federal grant and initiated a Student Leadership Scholarship program that aims to bring in more blood donors while giving back to current students.
“With that federal grant, we’re going to use it to in a way give back to the community in the form of a scholarship. We’re going to try to help local kids to go to college and pay for their tuition,” Thiago Silva, a blood donor recruiter with Vitalant said.
With students spreading the word, donors have to make a pledge to the student and donate before February 28.
“They will share this pledge link to all their network. To their friends, family, social media. Everybody who pledges to that link will pledge and next time they go to a blood drive or blood center and make a donation, that donation gets credited to the student,” Silva said.
“Not only does it show that they’re helping out the community, but it’s nice to know that they’re doing something for me. It makes me feel like they want me to succeed in life and they know I’m going to do well later on,” Trevizo added.
To support Castanon click here, and to support Trevizo click here.
For more information on donating blood or convalescent plasma at Vitalant, click here.