Archive for September, 2011

Thanks to Blood Donors…

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Three-time blood recipient Bernice Ulrich with her great-grandson.

“…My grandmother Bernice Ulrich recently celebrated her 90th birthday on the same day as her great-grandson’s first birthday,” said Stacey Lynn, a specialist in The Blood Center’s Quality Assurance department.

Bernice was a nurse in Europe during WWII, working on the front lines in General Patton’s Third Army in the evacuation hospitals. She earned four battle stars, and after the war, married and went on to have two children, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Thanks to the generosity of blood donors, Bernice, a three-time blood recipeint, is able to enjoy occasions like the joint birthday party with her 1-year-old great-grandson.

“Grandma always says how grateful she is to the blood donors who helped save her life and let her live longer to spend more time with her family,” Lynn said.

Thank you to all the Commit for Life donors who make moments like these possible every day!

Giving blood… and teddy bears

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Albert Maurer donating at the Joe Joe Bear Foundation’s July blood drive. Photo courtesy of the Joe Joe Bear Foundation.

If you drop by the blood drive at Buffalo Wild Wings on Park Row in Katy next week, you may notice something unusual: dozens of donors holding teddy bears.

That’s because the group hosting this drive is the Joe Joe Bear Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting and delivering new teddy bears to children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

The foundation was created in memory of Joseph David Ordaz, who passed away from Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in March 2009 at the age of 24. While in the hospital, Joe asked for a teddy bear to hold when he was alone.

The Joe Joe Bear Foundation is a new Commit for Life group that began hosting blood drives with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in February of this year, and has collected 74 units in three drives so far.

“One of our goals when we created the foundation was to do blood drives to create awareness of the need for blood. When Joe was in the hospital, he was getting a blood transfusion every other day,” said Jeanette Maurer, Joe’s godmother and President and CEO of the Joe Joe Bear Foundation. “Most people don’t realize that kids with cancer go through so much blood.”

To help raise awareness of the need, the foundation spotlights a different child during each blood drive – the September drive features Ariel Leal, a brain and spine cancer patient at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Donors are also encouraged to bring a new teddy bear to donate at the drive for Houston-area patients like Ariel. As an added incentive, Buffalo Wild Wings is offering six free wings to all who give blood at the drive. Log on to Digital Donor today and enter sponsor code U349 to schedule your appointment to donate with the Joe Joe Bear Foundation!

Joe Joe Bear Foundation Blood Drive
Tuesday, Sept. 20 – 4 to 8 p.m.
Buffalo Wild Wings
19910 Park Row

Belts and Blood: Local MMA Community Gathers to Help Save Lives

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center partners with lots of different kinds of organizations to host blood drives that attract a wide variety of donors – students, business professionals, healthcare workers, military veterans… the list goes on and on. And after last Saturday, you can add MMA fighters to that list.

At a blood drive hosted by, the online hub for MMA (mixed martial arts) activities in the Houston area, The Blood Center counted 13 MMA fighters and an even greater number of fans and supporters among its donors. The drive brought in a total of 44 products to help save lives in local hospitals!

Barry Laminack, co-owner of the website, said he was particularly proud of the event not only because of the difference it will make for local patients, but also because of the positive light it shed on the Houston MMA community. His detailed write-up on the event is posted on the site.

Take a look to learn more about the drive and the many individuals and organizations that helped make it happen, and view photos from the event. Thanks to Paradigm Training Center, where the drive was held, and to everyone involved with for a fantastic blood drive!

Joe Trevino, Guilherme Moreira and Colin Thomas Wright were among the local MMA fighters who came out to support the blood drive Saturday.

Saying “Happy Birthday” by Giving Back

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Sarah (second from left) and a few of her friends at the blood drive. A yard banner placed in front of Sarah’s photo on the donor coach wishes her a happy birthday.

Most people receive presents from their friends on their birthday – when longtime donor Sarah Holland celebrated her birthday on Friday, Aug. 26, she asked her friends to give back to the community instead.

Sarah participated in the 2010 Commit for Life photo shoot. When her photo was chosen to grace the side of our newest donor coach, she wholeheartedly embraced her newfound celebrity as a face of Commit for Life by beginning to host drives on “her” coach.

For Sarah’s birthday blood drive 48 of her friends, new and old, came out to celebrate her birthday by giving blood. The drive collected 41 units, nine more than projected, WOW!

Sarah was first inspired to donate in high school by her mother. During her birthday blood drive, Sarah’s mother, a breast cancer survivor, made her first donation in more than 20 years.

“My New Year’s goal was to bring one new person with me each time I donated,” Sarah said. “Commit for Life means that I am doing my part to save lives. I feel honored to be able to help people in need.”

To view more photos from the drive, go to

The Blood Center East Texas · The Blood Center Brazos Valley

© 2011 Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center · Houston, Texas