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

South Texas Blood & Tissue opens new donor center in Boerne 

South Texas Blood & Tissue officially opened its eighth donor center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Boerne on Thursday, Jan. 27. 

The new donor center, which is at 215 W. Bandera Road, Suite 115 in Boerne, is one of two opening in 2022. Work is underway on a donor center in Bulverde, which will give donors new locations to give blood and platelets in two of the fastest-growing counties in Texas. 

Adrienne Mendoza, Chief Operating Officer of South Texas Blood & Tissue, thanked community leaders for attending the ceremony. 

She recognized financial donors – the Nancy Smith Hurd Foundation, John R. & Greli N. Less Charitable Trust, Betty Stieren Kelso Foundation, 2021 Red and White Ball Benefactors, Mays Family Foundation, Valero Foundation, Klesse Foundation, DOCUmation and Louis Scantland, Abbott, Calimex USA Corporation, and Frost – whose support made the new site possible. 

She added how the center makes it more convenient, comfortable and accessible for anyone in Boerne to save lives.  

Other speakers included The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation Board Chair Allison Di Paoli, blood donor and patient Laura Buress, Boerne Chamber of Commerce President Kim Blohm, and Boerne Mayor Tim Handren. 

The Boerne donor center is open from 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. the rest of the week. 

South Texas Blood & Tissue has five donor centers in San Antonio, plus one each in Victoria and New Braunfels. 

South Texas Blood & Tissue, which serves more than 100 hospitals in 48 counties, has seen the need for blood increase by 15% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations have not kept up with demand. 

Blood donations help accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those undergoing treatment for cancer, sickle cell disease and many more. 

Red & White Ball

Allison De Paoli is happy to announce Scott and Elizabeth McMillian have accepted the Chair position for the 2022 Red & White Ball. The McMillians have already been hard at work on this year’s ball, securing a location and date before the end of January. The 2022 goal is to raise $500,000 toward the replacement of blood collection equipment and the renovation of the South Texas Blood & Tissue blood storage and delivery facilities.

An early start to ball planning offers the opportunity to get pledges in for tickets, sponsorship and underwriting through Champions fore Charity. The Champions program makes your gift go further, since it will get a 7% match from the Valero Texas Open. Pricing can be found on the donation designation form in Champions communications via email and mail.

With the date, location and cause determined, planning is getting underway. Please contact Elizabeth McMillian if you are interested in helping on any of the committees:

Invitations
Decorations
Sponsorships
Registration

Pictorial Directory

The 2022 pictorial directory is almost ready to be released. Before doing so, we ask that if you have not had a chance to submit your personal contact information form, that you please do so along with a couples photo, photo of yourself or a family photo if you prefer.

We hope this will be a valuable resource to strengthen communication with your fellow directors in your geographical location or areas of interest. Board members who have committed to chairing or participating in a program or committee will have that noted among their information.

Directors will be emailed the information we have on file for confirmation. Please review and let us know if there are any changes or if there is specific information you would like to keep for staff use only and out of the pictorial directory. Please submit changes to Foundation@biobridgeglobal.org.

Champions fore Charity

2022 Champions fore Charity co-chairs David Schneider and Art Bennert are happy to announce the addition of Kristen Boerger to this season’s team. With your help, the trio aims to raise $200,000. In an effort to simplify the process, funds raised this season will support the Red & White Ball cause and incentive money earned will support the Foundation Fund.

As a board member, your Red and White Ball purchases can make a 7% difference by simply filling out a designation form to indicate if you would like your donation through Champions to be used toward the purchase of Red and White Ball sponsorships, underwriting or tickets. By making your purchase through Champions, the Valero Texas Open will match your purchase at 7%, making your gift go further.

As in previous years, you are invited to pledge now and pay later by simply selecting the “bill me” option on the Champions pledge form. Invoices will be emailed by Champions on April 18 and mailed out on April 22. The last day to submit payment is May 20.

This public campaign is a great way to educate the community on the need to replace current blood collection equipment, and renovations to the South Texas Blood & Tissue blood storage and delivery facilities. Replacing the sunsetting apheresis machines will provide a better donor experience, with more targeted capabilities, shorter donation times and integration into a paperless system. The renovations to Hospital Services, alongside these new machines, will provide needed production and distribution efficiencies for our existing hospital partners and the five new hospitals that currently are under development in Bexar County.

The success in raising funds and awareness through Champions this year will enable us to meet the growing scale of operations and the increased demand for blood and other therapeutic products. You can help by making your pledge early, sharing social media posts and forwarding email messaging.

February 2022 Foundation Board Member Spotlight

Tom & Yona McNish

What inspired you to join the Blood & Tissue Center Foundation Board? 

My wife and I initially joined The Foundation to support the Texas Cord Blood Bank. I’m proud to support BBG.

What do you like to do? 

We like to spend time with our children and grandchildren. Read, travel, dine out with friends and avail ourselves of the richness of our community.

What motivates you?  

The idea of being part of an organization which does so much good for our community.  It inspires us to help that organization so it can save even more lives.

Is there anything about your time on the board you would like to share? Most cherished moments or greatest accomplishments?

Our time on the board has enabled us to make many good friends as we work together toward the goal of providing multiple sources of life-prolonging and lifesaving care.

Letter from the Chair – Allison De Paoli

Dear Board Members:

Thank you ALL for your commitment to our community and serving on the 2022 Blood & Tissue Center Foundation Board.

Together, we can grow the mission and operations of BioBridge Global to meet the needs – and growing population – of South Texas.

I know we will accomplish great things!

There are a couple of housekeeping items to take care of:

  • Make sure your contact information for the pictorial directory is up to date and you that submit a photo, if you haven’t yet.
  • Let me, or anyone on The Foundation staff, know what committee, project or program you are interested in working on. Adriana will add this into the directory we can better connect with each other and share our mission with our networks.
  • The need to increase our “social presence” continues to grow. Please be on the lookout for social posts or email info to share with your networks.

In keeping with the theme of “increase” these are a few we can all do to help increase our blood donation base as well as our financial base.

  • Review the 2022 Donation Opportunities form included in the February board meeting packet for a list of all giving opportunities planned for the year as of the end of January.
  • If possible, please make your financial commitments now through Champions Fore Charity – we harvest an additional 7% of revenue simply by driving donations through that program without any additional costs to The Foundation. 
  • We still need a few committee chairs and volunteers to serve on the event committees.
  • If you have contacts for possible philanthropic donation, please talk with Clay Howell about the best way to proceed.  We are actively looking to broaden both our financial donor base.
  • Promote the new donor rooms and “adopt a day” to bring friends and family in to donate with you.

I am so excited about all we can accomplish this year and to working with everyone. 

Please let me know what questions you have.

Thanks so much!  

Sincerely,
Allison De Paoli

Blood is so important to Ryder and his family as he awaits stem cell transplant 

As a toddler, Ryder was much smaller than most children his age. 

Though he loved to play with his cousins, go swimming and do everything other kids did, Ryder’s slow growth prompted his parents to take him to an endocrinologist.  

When nothing was diagnosed, the family was referred to a hematologist, who performed a bone marrow biopsy.  

In 2019, doctors diagnosed Ryder with a rare genetic blood disorder called Fanconi anemia. The disorder prevents his bone marrow from making enough blood cells for his body to function properly, according to his mom, Andrea. 

“I think right now if you look at him, you wouldn’t think anything was wrong. He’s still very energetic, very loving, still the same,” she said of her son, who now is 7.  

However, Ryder bruises easily. He is underweight for his age and often has trouble catching his breath. After he suffered from COVID-19 during the summer, Ryder’s blood cell counts have remained extremely low. 

The only known cure for Fanconi anemia is a stem cell or bone marrow transplant from a matching donor. 

“Unlike others like me, or whoever had COVID-19, we can come back from that and keep making bone marrow and reproduce the cells. But his body can’t,” Andrea said. “He’s at the point if he gets sick again, he might not be able to come back from that, which is why the transplant is so crucial.” 

In the meantime, Ryder has needed a platelet transfusion to treat the disease and is homeschooled to reduce his chances of catching any illness.  

“At any time, his levels could drop again, and he may need another transfusion,” Andrea said. 

She is working to get Ryder in a clinical trial for a stem cell transplant, and she hopes her own stem cells will be enough for the scientists to work with to get Ryder the transplant. 

That’s why signing up on the marrow registry and regularly donating blood are so important to Andrea and her family. 

“For us, doing these blood drives, even if it doesn’t go to him, it’s good karma and it will come back, and he will get it when he needs it,” she said.