Community

Carbajal family hosts blood drive

Puget Sound Blood Center nurse Erica Tomas prepares a local donor for a blood donation at the Carbajal family blood drive on Saturday, Dec. 1. - Lauren Salcedo
Puget Sound Blood Center nurse Erica Tomas prepares a local donor for a blood donation at the Carbajal family blood drive on Saturday, Dec. 1.
— image credit: Lauren Salcedo

ARLINGTON — The family of Elliot Carbajal hosted their fourth blood drive in his honor during the city of Arlington’s Hometown Holidays celebration on Saturday, Dec. 1.

The Carbajal family set up a blood drive in the City Council chambers, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., in an effort to raise urgently needed donations as some local blood centers are down to a two-day supply of certain blood types. The drive also accepted food donations for the Arlington Food Bank.

The drive was originated after Elliot Carbajal was killed in 2009 and his family decided to honor his memory by supporting his habit of donating blood.

“The first time we did a blood drive was in January [2010], because we wanted it to be close to Elliot’s actual memorial service,” said Joyce Phillips, event organizer and Elliot’s sister. “This is our first time at Hometown Holidays.”

Dozens of Hometown Holidays attendees waited in line to donate blood during the drive, and the food drive had already filled four crates with donations in the first two hours of the event.

The blood drive coincided with the news that Elliot Carbajal would be honored in another way. After his death, Elliot saved the lives of two people by donating his kidneys to those requiring transplants.

Carbajal will be honored at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 1. A floragraph bearing his photo will make its way along the parade route as part of the Donate Life America Rose Parade Float, titled Journeys of the Heart.

“We were asked to participate in the parade,” said Phillips. “They’ll bring the floragraph up and we’ll have a finishing event next weekend.”

On Sunday, Dec. 9, the Carbajal family will gather at a reception to finish the floragraph and honor Elliott and other donors at Gleneagle Golf Course from 5-9 p.m.

Elliot’s brother Adam Carbajal expressed gratitude for those who donated both blood and food during the drive.

“My personal take is that we are giving back to a community that Elliot loved,” he said. “It’s a great community, it’s a safe community. Somewhere around high school age, Elliot realized that he could help by donating blood and it didn’t cost anything. He’s donated more than six gallons in his lifetime. I think it’s great that people are coming out to support our cause and are donating and giving back to the community.”

 

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