A Celebration of Life Event
Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is celebrating its annual "A Celebration of Life Luncheon and Award Ceremony" Thursday, February 16, 2023, from 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Bayou City Event Center, located at 9401 Knight Rd, Houston, TX 77045.
A Celebration of Life is Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center's annual awards event and appreciation luncheon designed to recognize and celebrate our Commit for Life groups for all the countless lives saved through their efforts and blood drives.
As part of our ceremony, we invite a blood recipient to speak about how blood donations have impacted their lives. This year, we honor Juliana Lara, age 5. Juliana was growing up like any other child, loving life and full of energy and love. In December 2021, after a month of increasing leg pain, lack of appetite, and low energy levels, Juliana was diagnosed with b-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She was admitted to Texas Children's Hospital, where she continues to receive treatment. With critical blood levels, Juliana was admitted to the pediatric ICU the night of her diagnosis. She received four blood transfusions to bring her to a level high enough to start chemotherapy.
"To the individual(s) who donated blood that Juliana ended up receiving, it may have been only a small or even insignificant event in their life, but it gave my daughter a chance to start cancer treatment and save her life," said Jorge Lara, Juliana's father. "Without the donations she received, her body would not have sustained life for much longer. We are forever grateful to the people who give blood.," said Lara.
After many hard months, including what her parents considered a successful clinical trial, Juliana is on the road to becoming a long-term survivor. 13 months into treatment, she is now in her maintenance phase. She will continue treatment until March of 2024 when she will finally ring her bell to signify the end of treatment.
The special event will include:
- A small presentation.
- Photo opportunities.
- A recipient story.
- The opportunity to meet our organization's leadership and other successful blood drive groups.
Unfortunately, Juliana won't be attending. Her blood counts aren't where they need to be to feel safe bringing her out in public to an event. But her father, Jorge, will be attending to tell her story.
Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is the sole provider of blood and blood components 24/7 to more than 170 hospitals and health care facilities in a 26-county Texas Gulf Coast region. Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is a nonprofit organization and is accredited by the Food and Drug Administration. For more information or to help save lives, visit giveblood.org.