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David Garmo has been organizing blood drives at his business, Big O Tires & Service in Pacific Beach, for more than 10 years. We took a moment to ask David what inspires him to organize blood drives—his answers get at the heart of how we're all connected.
What inspired you to start to organize blood drives?
I began hosting blood drives at my business—Big O Tires & Service in Pacific Beach—in 2005, after my first child was diagnosed with cancer in 2003.
As a blood drive chairperson, you understand the necessity for blood. Why is it so important for us to maintain an adequate blood supply?
I am thankful to have a part in maintaining an adequate supply of blood. My wife and I together decided we have the ability to use our business to host blood drives, to help collect blood needed by hospitals for anyone in need of it, and also to donate on a regular basis.
Can you share more about your personal connection to blood donation?
Hosting blood drives is a way for my family to give back the gift that we were given: blood that helped save my son's life. Throughout his cancer treatment, he was given roughly 10 units of blood and numerous platelet transfusions. Having the blood available after his multiple rounds of chemo, radiation and stem cell transplant is what kept him alive. Cancer again hit my family, as another of my children was diagnosed with cancer a few years after my son completed his treatment. Again, my wife and I were given the gift of blood that was used for my daughter to recover from chemo and treatment of her cancer.
Tell us a little about your family. How many little ones do you have and what do you all plan to do for Father’s Day?
My wife and I have been blessed with six children, ranging from ages 3-16. I'm hoping for a sunny and warm Father's Day weekend that involves hanging out by the pool and barbecuing with my family. I realize that the kids won't be young forever, so I do cherish these times being the man they all look up to.
When somebody is anxious or scared to donate blood, what do you tell them/how do you encourage them to commit to saving a life?
We hear lots of reasons and excuses as to why people don't like donating blood, but the fear of needles is the most common. I don't push people into donating, but rather let them think about the good they will be doing and let them overcome their own fears. I sometimes share my story as a testament of how important it is to donate. Hopefully, this gets them to commit to saving a life.