A blood drive on October 2, held on the City of Perris City Hall campus yielded enough donations to help between 100 and 300 people.
A steady procession of donors lined up in front of City Hall to take part in the collection drive organized by LifeStream, a blood bank that serves Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Perris City Councilman Mark Yarbrough was among the first volunteers to arrive.
For him, the event was personal.
Yarbrough’s 4-year-old granddaughter, Halle Yarbrough, died four years ago after a battle with leukemia. Yarbrough said she received an experimental bone-marrow transplant that came too late to save her.
“We’ve got to get the word out that donating blood is important,” he said. “It’s the gift of life. You could be giving it to someone else or someone could be giving it to you.”
Yarbrough said 44 residents turned up at the blood drive to donate. Since each pint of blood can be used to help save up to three adults or eight children, the number of folks who potentially could benefit is substantial.
“I am grateful to everyone who turned out today and made their commitment to help people they probably will never know or even meet,” he said.
Cal State San Bernardino University student Zaira Cardona said she donated blood to address a demand that never wanes. LifeStream representatives say they could use 500 pints of blood a day to meet all their needs.
“I know that by donating blood I am helping my community and that makes me feel awesome,” Cardona said. “This is an amazing opportunity for all residents of Perris to lend a helping hand.”
She credited the City for hosting the blood drive, saying Perris officials “have gone above and beyond” to address a critical need.
Erika Arechiga said members of her family have needed blood transfusions as they have battled various illnesses. She donates blood to return that favor.
“It feels good to give back to the people I feel have helped my family,” she said.
LifeStream Area Representative Sandy Hale said the organization considers the Perris blood drive “very successful,” adding “we really appreciate all of the support and effort on everyone’s part to help make it a success.”
“Thank you again for helping us save lives!” she said.
Hale said LifeStream is returning to Perris for another blood drive, possibly at next year’s annual Health Fair.
The day’s activities also included an information booth promoting the City’s “Live Well Perris” healthy eating active living initiative. Municipal employees explained that high-calorie foods like sugar increase the risk of diabetes and high-blood pressure and urged residents to replace soda, chips and cookies with water and fruits and vegetables.
Members of the RideNPride car club also attended and took part in a classic car show. Perris resident Rene Camargo took home the top prize, the “Peoples’ Choice Award.”