REPROCELL and BioBridge Global sign Memorandum of Understanding to accelerate global manufacturing services using clinical iPSCs

The Big Give

On Sept. 10, The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation will be participating in The Big Give S.A., a 24-hour campaign to give where your heart is. 

To make this event a success, we are asking you, our Foundation Board of Directors, to help us spread the word and reach out to potential sponsors who would be willing to match donations or sponsor a day of giving challenge to help support our COVID-19 Response and Recovery Effort. Please contact Allison DePaoli for more information.

Donations will assist with costs for personal protective equipment like faces masks and gloves that are needed on a daily basis, as well as promotional and operational expenses related to hosting blood drives at large-scale venues that allow for proper social distancing.

Donations also will assist with efforts to recruit donors for and expand the convalescent plasma program.  

Show your support! Visit The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation’s page to create a peer to peer page today. #BigGive2020

Voices of Hope Series

Providing Hope: The Role of Convalescent Plasma in the Battle Against COVID-19 

Wednesday, Aug. 19 | Noon-1 p.m.

The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation is proud to announce the relaunch of the Voices of Hope series to help spread community awareness of our daily efforts to continue our lifesaving mission at BioBridge Global.  

Please join us for this webinar where Elizabeth Waltman, Chief Operating Officer from the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, will provide an overview of the innovative convalescent plasma program and how it is making a difference in the battle against COVID-19. 

You also will hear Gordon Hartman and Paul Basaldua discuss their experiences with COVID-19 and their personal messages to the community about giving back through the convalescent plasma program.

The webinar will be moderated by David Chancellor, morning anchor for News 4 San Antonio. Keep an eye out for the email invitation to the webinar coming soon.

Holli and Greg Brunsman

Our family has experienced the loss of family and friends to both cancer and sudden cardiac death. That inspired us to join the board with Mary Brook and Cindy Schneider, who we had known while serving on the board of another non-profit. When Mary invited us to the Voices of Hope Series Lunch & Learn in April of 2017, Becky Cap, the Chief Operating Officer of GenCure, was the guest speaker. We were fascinated by GenCure’s regenerative medicine and cellular therapy developments. In January 2018, our good friends Cindy and David Schneider shared more about the mission of the Foundation and invited us to join the board.

We enjoy traveling, cooking, gardening, golfing and many activities with our five children and six grandchildren.

In 2007, Holli lost her stepfather to a massive heart attack in the emergency room of a small-town hospital before he could be airlifted to a major medical center. Since he passed away in the hospital, we were asked if we would consider tissue donation, and were told he would be eligible to donate bone, tissue and corneas. As upsetting as that time was for us, turning loss into a life-transforming gift for others helped us cope with the tragedy of his sudden death. Since then, we have been advocates for increasing community awareness of organ and tissue donation, blood donation, and just doing whatever we can to give back to our community.

We have enjoyed making new friends on the board, working on the Red & White Ball Committee for the last two years, and helping to promote blood drives and other events of The Foundation. Recently, in response to the lack of available blood donors and increased demand for blood supply during the COVID-19 pandemic, we organized blood drives in April and May at our church, which brought in 24 first-time donors and 91 pints of blood. Holli has challenged her co-workers to give blood and we schedule regular blood donations. Since joining the Foundation Board, we have developed a greater understanding and appreciation for the lifesaving mission of this wonderful organization.

About the artist: F.L. ‘Doc’ Spellmon

We’re launching a monthly series about the artists who contributed to the BioBridge Art Collection. This month’s featured artist is F.L. “Doc” Spellmon. Click on the video to see the entire BBG art collection.

A good artist can use his hands to create a painting. An extraordinary artist can transform that painting to an enchanting story that cannot be expressed by words.

Fronzell Lincoln “Doc” Spellmon was extraordinary, an artist with the ability to create remarkable stories and messages through the stroke of his paintbrush.

He discovered his love for art at a young age after seeing pictures from the Bible and other religious books owned by his father, who was a minister. Those fables and biblical stories had a great impact on his artwork later, as he is best known for his nativity scenes and folk art.

Before Spellmon was able to bring his passion to his art, he went through many physical and spiritual journeys growing up, including working as a middle school teacher and fighting for his country in the U.S Navy. He eventually retired to focus on art scenes in San Antonio and Austin, where he founded multiple art programs, including the Black Art Studio Art Gallery in San Antonio and the San Antonio Ethnic Society to aid young African Americans in the journey of fine art.

Spellmon created a voice in the visual arts for the African American community through his expressive paintings depicting the culture and heritage of Black Americans that he believed needed to be portrayed in American culture. His artwork included twists from African art that ranged from masks and tribal figures to revolutionary black figures in American history like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

He took the opportunity to paint settings from his rural childhood, displaying everyday activities that he understood many experienced – such as a family coming back to church – and portraying them in a new light. Spellmon had a desire for the audience to see the drastic changes in the new rural life compared to 100 years ago. He wanted to emphasize how African Americans had the freedom to work for themselves and make a living instead of being bound to slavery. His artwork expressed the belief and hope for a better future where men of all colors could live in peace and equality.

Spellmon used his platform to make many contributions to the San Antonio community, participating in charities and donating his works toward beneficial causes such as the Bexar County Hospital District in the Read Stremmel Gallery. His piece “Blacks in Space” is part of the BioBridge Global Art Collection and hangs between the elevator doors on the first floor of the Headquarters Building.

He always stayed true to his beliefs even as he gained popularity, not allowing the fame to change his motives, and he became an inspiration for many future artists in San Antonio.

–By Ayishah Habib, student intern, Johnson High School