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. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center was a proud participant along with its affiliate, The Blood Center of Brazos Valley, and the Gulf Coast Marrow Donor Program.
Each cyclist on the team rides because of a personal connection with blood, marrow, organ or tissue donation, and they travel to each city on the tour in honor of someone in that city who has a personal connection as well. During their stops at The Blood Center’s Houston headquarters and Texas A&M University, they were able to meet some of the local individuals in whose honor they rode, as well as hear stories from others whose lives were impacted by donors.
Team captain Gary Van Kuiken, of The Woodlands, rode to Houston in honor of two local recipients - Kaitlyn Daniel (bottom left photo), who received blood after her scoliosis surgery, and Trevor Plumley, who has not only received blood multiple times but earned his Eagle Scout rank for hosting a blood drive.
Jennifer Alpard, of Houston, rode in honor of Blood Center employee Amanda Lewis, a Senior Shift Coordinator in the Hospital Services department, who worked for several days during Hurricane Harvey to ensure hospitals' needs were met throughout the storm.
Carol Wingate, of Fayetteville, Ark., rode for Kisa Williams, a sickle cell anemia patient whose illness sidelined her from becoming a dancer, but is now pursuing her new dream of being a fashion designer.
Lisa Reeve, of Temple, Texas, rode in honor of Ezra Abraham, a healthy 3-year-old who has source plasma donors to thank for the medicines that helped him fight Kawasaki disease.
The Gulf Coast Marrow Donor Program also participated with four honorees: stem cell recipients Joyce Pfleeger and Frederick "Ziggy" Stovall-Redd, and donors Kevin Williams and Clifton Mays, both Houston Police Officers.
In College Station, cyclist Melanie Hartman of Happy, Texas honored Devin Love (bottom right photo), who was born with a heart defect and has needed blood in her surgeries. She now hosts an annual blood drive to give back to others.
The Blood Center is proud to have been a part of an event that brings the community together for a great cause and educates them on the importance of donating, the way the Circle of Life Bike Tour does. Learn more about the tour, the cyclists and the honorees.