The Lone Star Circle of Life Bike Tour rode into Houston on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, to raise awareness of the need for more lifesaving blood, bone marrow, organ and tissue donors in Texas.
Houston was the fourth stop on the eight-day 2014 tour. The cyclists rode into Memorial City Mall, where they met and shared stories with local donors and recipients. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, the Gulf Coast Marrow Donor Program and Life Gift each selected several honorees to be a part of the event.
The Hollingsworth family served as The Blood Center’s honorees. Andy Hollingsworth is a longtime blood donor who became father to two adorable blood recipients when his twins, Noah and Lucas, were born prematurely in 2011. Andy’s wife, Lori, also received blood due to complications following her pregnancy.
The event also featured a donor-recipient meeting between Sandy Chavez and Aldo Giles. Just four days before his 18th birthday, Giles learned he had leukemia. A bone marrow transplant was his only hope for a cure, and like 70 percent of patients in need of a bone marrow transplant, he did not have a match within his own family. Fortunately for Giles, Chavez had joined the Be The Match registry two years earlier – she was a match for him. Today, Giles is 19 and is now healthy enough to think about going to college in the spring.
Each cyclist rode approximately 75 to 100 miles each day in honor of a different donor, recipient or advocate. To learn more about the tour, please visit: http://www.sw.org/bike-tour/about-tour.