Commit for Life Calendar

Each year, we select a few photos and stories from the Commit for Life photo shoot to share in the Commit for Life calendar. Share your story with us and you could be invited to our next photo shoot! 

Calendar Cover 2019 - Nolan

Nolan, 9, was diagnosed with hemophilia at the end of 2017 and had to get a blood transfusion. Since then, he's broken a finger, sprained his wrist and his bruises quickly turn into hematomas. His mom, Mindy, said the family still is trying to find a balance between letting him play like any other boy and being cautious.

January 2019 - Tomas

Tomas was born with a congenital heart defect and has a pacemaker. The first 8 months of his life, he needed platelets. He needed them again at 4 years old and again in his teens. A recent graduate of Channelview High School, Tomas plans to study criminal justice.

February 2019 - Suzanne

Suzanne, director of community relations for KSBJ and former KPRC 2 anchor, had been a donor for years before she was diagnosed with cancer. She never saw herself as a recipient, but that's exactly what happened three years ago. Now, when she looks back, her brain has blocked out much of the negative parts of her experience. Suzanne said she just remembers the overwhelming sense of gratitude she had for the donors who helped save her.

March 2019 - Caden

Caden saw his doctor when he started to develop stomach pains in February 2018. Tests showed his hemoglobin and blood levels were low and he would need not one, but three blood transfusions. He was later diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the digestive tract. A blood drive held in honor of Caden at Conroe High School brought in the most units of blood in school history.

April 2019 - Victoria

Victoria was selected as a 2018 scholarship recipient by The Blood Center. Victoria began donating blood in high school, and she plans to keep it up while attending Texas A&M University.

May 2019 - Lonnie

When Lonnie isn't on his motorcycle as a member of the Harris County Sheriff's Office, he's a known presence at The Blood Center's Champions location. He's been donating blood since he was in college.

June 2019 - Artemio

Life changed dramatically for Artemio and his family when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2016. As the only boy of five children, 6-year-old Artemio is embraced by his sisters for his sensitivity and southern charm.  The family has held blood drives at both Artemio and his older sisters' schools.

July 2019 - Quinton

Quinton was hospitalized with endocarditis (a potentially fatal infection of the heart) just months after his wife found out she was pregnant. The condition caused a pulmonary embolism and severely damaged his heart valve. He underwent open heart surgery and received multiple transfusions.  He's now a new father.

August 2019 - Brazoswood High School

Brazoswood High School hosted seven blood drives with The Blood Center in one year when most schools host four. During each drive, they brought in hundreds of donors to help save lives in their community. Pictured are Fisher, Katelyn, Dylan and Carolyn.

September 2019 - Jizyah

Jizyah, reigning Miss Houston for the Miss America Organization, was a student at Sam Houston State University studying public health when she first volunteered for Be The Match on campus. The experience ignited a passion in Jizyah to share the importance of donating blood with others.

Oct. 2019 - Curtis

When Curtis first started donating blood, he admits it was for the free T-shirts. Then, he received a phone call telling him he was saving lives. That changed everything. Donating blood is now a family affair. His sons, C.J. and Curshawn — who just turned 16 — now join him. Nevaeh, Curtis' youngest, isn't old enough to donate yet, but he assures she will when the time comes.

November 2019 - Ashleigh

Ashleigh, 17, is a survivor of a rare salivary gland cancer, but that's not why she supports donating blood. Two years ago, a good friend died from cancer. The death hit Ashleigh hard, and now she just wants to help save people.

December 2019 - Nathan

After more than a year of battling leukemia, 5-year-old Nathan is excited to join his sister at school. Now in remission, Nathan's mom said he's always smiling, dancing and singing. They try to host blood drives at his school at least once a year.

January 2020 - Clayton

Clayton, 21, is a fourth-generation pilot and a third-generation agricultural aviator. At the age of 19, in the early stages of his career, Clayton was involved in a nearly fatal plane crash due to a loss of engine power, which resulted in him requiring 80 units of blood to recover. To date, blood drives in his honor have collected 145 units of blood. Clayton and his family thank everyone who takes the time to donate blood through Commit for Life. Because of donors like you, he received a second chance at life.

Blood Center News
Donors recovered from COVID-19 are helping others

The response from people who have overcome COVID-19 to Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s call for convalescent plasma has been amazing. We’ve seen a number of donors step up to help patients fighting the disease in local hospitals, and it’s beautiful to see our community come together for such an important reason.  

How to prepare for your next blood donation

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is open by appointment only right now, and we want to make sure you’re in tip-top shape to give when you come in to see us. Good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle can help you save lives, so take advantage of these tips before your next opportunity to give blood.  

‘Superhero medicine’ and blood donors help save Owen’s life

Sarah was celebrating her son’s fourth birthday in 2018 when she had to excuse herself. While she had the video camera pointed at her young son’s face, Sarah couldn’t help thinking this birthday might be his last. 

Owen was battling brain cancer for the second time. 

Two years later, birthdays have become extra special at the Langston household. 

Give Texas

This year on Feb. 26, we honor Dr. Reiss and her legacy through the first-ever Texas Bone Marrow, Blood, and Organ Donation Registry Day, established through the work of State Rep. Gene Wu and passed into law last year.

Blood drives and homemade cookies save lives

The Blood Center depends on the passion of thousands of organizations across the Gulf Coast region to help us save lives. We need 800–1,000 donations a day to serve all of the patients in our community, and we couldn’t do it without businesses, high schools, colleges, churches and a slew of other organizations that work with us.

Give the gift of platelets

It’s the most wonderful time of the year … to donate platelets! We have an urgent need for blood and platelet donations during the holidays, and blood donation is a great way for blood donors to spread Christmas cheer. 

What type of blood donation works for you?

Whole blood, platelets, red blood cells or plasma — you’ve got options when it comes to saving lives, and each donation has its benefits.

Lone Star Circle of Life

Cole was one of several organ, stem cell and blood donors and recipients honored in the 2019 Lone Star Circle of Life Bike Tour. Fewer than 12 cyclists are chosen to participate in the biennial event, which lasts about a week. The tour stretched from Tyler to Waco to College Station to Katy to Victoria before ending in Corpus Christi. 

League of Heroes: Heal for Real appeals to gamers

I think it’s safe to say nobody was more psyched than Lance when The Blood Center partnered with Team Liquid for the Heal for Real campaign. Team Liquid is an international esports organization with more a fanbase of more than 7 million people. The campaign is aimed at the gamer community because healers can be a big part of winning attacks.

Elephants need blood, too

At The Blood Center, we're all about saving lives — human or otherwise.  So it was a big deal to hear that we had a small part in helping save the life of a baby elephant named Joy. Joy is an Asian elephant, a species classified as endangered with only an estimated 40,000 left in the world.

What if this is the one that helps cure cancer?

Today I want to introduce you to Anne, a component technician responsible for separating blood into its different components.

 

Be safe, healthy and well

Our blood donors are the best. That’s why we do everything we can to make sure they are safe and comfortable every time they come in to save lives. To truly have the best experience, though, donors should be prepared.

Are You All In?

Some people get starstruck when meeting famous actors, while others want athletes to sign their memorabilia. My coworkers and I get excited when we get to meet real-life superheroes — people give their time because they believe they must help others if given the opportunity.

5 reasons blood donors are the best

The generous spirit of our donors amazes me. There are countless ways to give back to your community, especially in this technological age. Google “ways to give back in the Houston area” and you’ll find long lists of the needs in society. It’s, quite frankly, overwhelming. But you, you’ve waded through all of that information to find the most selfless way to support the people around you.

Why do you give blood?

Twelve students at the Thurgood Marshal School of Law already had signed up to give blood just one hour into their blood drive. It was amazing to see the heart of this high-achieving group taking time out of their studies with just weeks left in the semester to think about others.

Becoming Wonder Woman

I am an unashamed fan of Wonder Woman. Family members reminisced about how I used to wrap a towel around my neck and run around the house singing the “Woman Woman” theme song. (No, that wasn’t a typo. My ability to get song lyrics wrong was apparent even at the young ages of 3 and 4.)

You are powerful

Do you have any idea of the unbelievable power you have?

I was excited last summer to meet Shelley and her daughter, Courtney. The two were full of laughter and fun when Shelley came into our office for a photo shoot. Shelley is one of our long-time dedicated donors. She’s got that kind of giving spirit, and we were thrilled to capture a few photos of her.

Netflix and save lives like a hero: Top 5 movie recommendations

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to help save more lives than ever in 2019. But those automated donations can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. Mine, in particular, lean more toward the hour-and-a-half territory. What’s a girl to do? Watch Netflix movies and donate. And because I’m so thankful for your willingness to help us save lives, here are my top five recommendations for January.

Have you given a Holiday Hug?

One of the best parts of the Holiday Hugs tradition is reading the notes our donors write for patients in the hospital over the holidays. It’s not an easy task as each patient has his or her own individual circumstance, so we’re restricted in which cards we tie to each bear. Still, many of our donors are well up to the task.

Every day, someone’s life is being saved.

By Tammie Riley 

I learned something the other day. Every day, someone’s life is being saved. I know that seems obvious, but let that sink in. What may be a normal Thursday for most could be something completely different for someone else. And that’s exactly what happened to donor Gary Gilson. Aug. 16 was one of the most important moments in Gary’s life. Not only did he save lives that day, but someone else saved the life of his loved one, as well.

Hospital tour highlights need

A 3-year-old girl lies in a hospital bed in the middle of the room with monitors attached to her bare chest. She’s awake, but she doesn’t lift her head as we walk into the room. Still, she follows us with her eyes. The only sound we hear from her is a small cough while a nurse comes in to check her stats.

 

The Blood Center teams up with Sickle Cell Association of Houston

Blood transfusion is one treatment used to combat complications from sickle cell disease, a form of anemia most likely to affect people of African descent. Prince and her now 27-year-old daughter, Quannecia McCruse, founded the Sickle Cell Association of Houston years ago to educate and provide resources to the community.

 

Drive and save lives

Penny, a local teacher with some free time over the summer, has helped us kick off our new Volunteer Driver program. Are you interested in joining us in our mission to save lives? Call us at (713) 791-6262 or email volunteering@giveblood.org.

Overcoming fear: Donating blood for the first time

I’m a scaredy-cat. I readily admit it. I hate needles. That’s always been my excuse for why I don’t volunteer for anything with a needle. Flu shot? No way. Vaccines? I still remember the sheer terror I felt from them growing up. 

We are always #HoustonStrong

We never know when the next tragedy will strike, but we have to be ready when it does come. 

Meet Eden

CYPRESS – There is nothing more American than baseball and saving lives. Everyone who participates in The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center’s Home Run for Life competition will get a chance at both through June 30.

 

SuperMax is the hero Houston needs!

Max was born with a genetic disorder (neurofibromatosis type 1) that can cause tumors to grow on his nerve endings, and SuperMax has been his alter ego ever since. 

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center mourns Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush helped save lives in our community, and we celebrate her lifetime of accomplishments. The former First Lady set the bar high in her commitment to helping others.

 

Dr. Charles Drew: A Blood Banking Pioneer

Here at The Blood Center, we pride ourselves on being an organization of diversity. We work together to save and sustain lives, and we each bring a unique perspective when it comes to fulfilling our mission.

Tying the knot and saving lives

Hurricane Harvey destroyed homes, cars and many other things, but one thing it couldn’t destroy is the compassion for others in newlywed couple Gilbert and Stefanie Cruz. Gilbert and Stefanie were set to get married just a few days after Harvey passed, but due the storm’s aftermath they had to alter all of their plans on a moment’s notice.

 

Blood on ambulances helps EMS agencies save more lives

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center has partnered with two local agencies providing emergency medical services to help save more lives when time is of the essence, now administering whole blood to patients on the ground.

Donor coaches hit the road sporting new look, features

In the last two years, five of The Blood Center's donor coaches have been refurbished. Find out why this is such an important process.

Circle of Life Bike Tour celebrates life

The Lone Star Circle of Life bike tour visits Texas cities to raise awareness of the need for blood, marrow, organ and tissue donations to honor those impacted by these donation types. This year’s eight-day, 600-mile tour included stops in Houston and College Station.

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Blood Center Resources

Our mission is to partner with the community to save and sustain lives by providing a safe supply of blood, blood components and related services.

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center
1400 La Concha Lane
Houston, TX 77054

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