The lives of two men were celebrated at the Silver Spring Fire Station. Both a father and son lost their lives from service connected illnesses. Despite their illnesses, they never fell short of what they loved doing– helping the community.
“The reason we do this is because we want to give back to the community. This is what they’ve done. They’re all about community. My dad and my brother were always giving back and we feel that it’s important to keep them alive by doing something that they would’ve done themselves,” said Eliana Mann, daughter and sister of the father-son duo.
Both men worked at fire station 16 in Silver Spring. Carlos Alfaro Jr. died in 2006 from contracting Hepatitis C. Three years later his father died as a result from asbestos and cancer in his blood cells. Eliana said they held the blood drive so her father and brother can live on.
“If they were here they would be very proud. This is something that they would’ve been excited. They would’ve been animated,” Eliana said.
Eliana said almost everyone that has touched her life came to support the blood drive, including her 17-year-old daughter Alessandra Mann. Seventeen is the minimum age you can donate blood with parental permission at the blood drive.
“This is my first time. I’m very nervous. I’m very scared of needles. But this is something that’s so important to me that I’m going to do it no matter what. I have to do it,” said Alessandra Mann, granddaughter and niece.
Alessandra said she hopes more people donate and has some advice for those who are scared.
“Although it’s terrifying you’re doing it for the most amazing cause. You have to have that in your head. Like, they’re sticking a freaking needle in your arm. Like, that’s terrifying. But you can’t think of that. You have to think I’m doing this for other families. Other families are going to get so much extra time with their precious loved ones and that’s really all that matters,” Alessandra said.
Both Eliana and Alessandra said the multiple blood transfusions their relatives received allowed them to spend extra time with their family they wouldn’t have had otherwise.