Phlebotomist shares how mother's cancer diagnosis led to medical career

CHICAGO (WLS) -- With just three weeks to go before the Great Chicago Blood Drive, we want to introduce you to one of the many people that help you give the gift of life.

For the last 14 years, Mario Meza has been helping people like you and me roll up our sleeves to donate blood and help save lives.

Meza is one of the many phlebotomists at the Red Cross, a career path he chose based on a memory of his mother.

"My mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she had hospice and I liked the nurse the way she interacted with my mom, the patient care. So that's sparked me to go into the medical field," he said.

With that in mind he shares the same kindness to each donor that crosses his path.

"I always try to make them feel comfortable," he said. "I interact with the donor a lot. It can be anybody from the CEO of a company to a farmer that is growing corn in the middle of the country. They all have great stories and they all come for the same purpose, to help and save lives. We're all the same. We're all equal. There are actually good people out there who want to help that's what I take from that."

At the end of each day, Meza says he feels like he's done a good deed.

"You know how life is there are ups and downs and I feel like if I'm doing something good. Something positive, something that is going to help somebody good things will come," Meza said. "It makes me feel great. It's adding credit to my karma."

Meza was on hand for last year's Great Chicago Blood Drive and he hopes to be on hand once again this year.

This year's drive will be on January 10, held at the Merchandise Mart on the 7th floor. Our second location will still be at the Drake Oak Brook Hotel. The hours at both locations will be from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

You can register today by calling 1-800-Red-Cross or register online.
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