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National Donate Life Month

Happy Spring everyone! I don’t know about you, but I’m doing a double take that it’s April already.

And speaking of April, are you aware that this is National Donate Life Month? Donate Life America established National Donate Life Month in 2003 to raise awareness about donation, while encouraging people to register to become organ, cornea and tissue donors.

There are various activities that take place during Donate Life Month, and you can learn more about them by visiting Donate Life America’s website.  

Some of the things we are doing here at South Texas Blood & Tissue include raising the Donate Life Month flag for the month, revitalizing our Legacy Garden that honors donors and taking a staff picture on National Blue and Green Day on April 22, to name a few.

There is also a very special day on April 30– Donor Remembrance Day.  This is a day we come together to recognize, honor and celebrate Donor Heroes who have given the gift of life through organ, cornea and tissue donations.

I know donation represents both heartache for you, the donor family, and thankfulness for a recipient and their family—which are all parts of the grief journey. I hope you can look at your loved one’s gracious donation as being something positive in a very difficult and emotional time.

And remember, you are not alone in your grief journey.  South Texas Blood & Tissue provides the Grief Support and Life Legacies program as well as our Grief Support (South Texas Blood & Tissue) Facebook group.

-Susan Smith, Grief Support Manager, South Texas Blood & Tissue

His last act of service saved lives

Brian Coleman seemed quiet and reserved to most people, but his family would tell you he was hilarious and extremely kind. 

“We met on a blind date. No one really knows that,” said Precious, Brian’s wife.  

To her it feels like yesterday that she met her husband on that date and talked late into the night–the night she knew she would marry him.  

Sixteen years of marriage and countless memories later, Brian died at age 58 after complications from a heart attack and stroke in August 2021.  

One of Brian’s last acts of kindness was donating his tissue and corneas to patients in need. His tissue could go on to enhance the lives of up to 75 people and his corneas could restore sight to two people. 

Precious did not even know Brian had committed to becoming a donor until after his death. She had talked to Brian for years about checking the box at the DMV to become an organ, eye and tissue donor, but never knew if he did or not.  

“It was almost the best gift to hear that not only was he listening as a husband but that he had done it,” Precious said. “Then again, it didn’t surprise me because of the type of person he was.” 

Brian’s children–Brandon, Caden and Aria–and his grandchildren Branson and Saniya will always remember him as the coach at every game and the cheerleader for all their endeavors.  

“Family meant everything to him. That’s one of the reasons why I fell in love with him,” said Precious. 

The father of three coached his kids’ sports games throughout the years, whether football, basketball or soccer. He was a devout member of True Vision Church and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, where he led its nonprofit scholarship foundation.  

Brian took many opportunities to mentor others, including through a program at his job as a program manager for USAA. He also worked as a certified public accountant for his own business.

“He was always the consummate coach,” Precious said, “even a life coach when he would discipline our children.” 

Along with a legacy of kindness and generosity to the very end, Brian’s love of sports and coaching will live on through a scholarship in his name to Kinetic Kids, a San Antonio organization that provides sports and recreation programs to children with special needs. 

“It is so comforting knowing that he is continually giving even after his physical life, and he gave so much during his physical life,” Precious said.

South Texas Blood & Tissue is an accredited tissue bank that works in conjunction with Donate Life Texas to connect donors registered on the national organ, eye and tissue registry with patients in need.

Fiesta and spring break cause blood donations, drives in area to drop dramatically  

Celebrating lifesaving donors and Fiesta in a big way 

WHAT: The community blood supply has seen a significant decline in the last few weeks, as many donors have been on spring break. And with upcoming Fiesta celebrations, which tend to interrupt the usual schedule of donations and an increase in accidents that may require blood transfusions, hospitals are concerned that current appointments will not meet the needs of local patients. 

“Spring break is already a challenging time, as we see a drop in donations and blood drives as high schools and colleges are out,” said Adrienne Mendoza, Chief Operating Officer, South Texas Blood & Tissue. “Having Fiesta so close to spring break makes assuring that we have an adequate blood supply more challenging.”  

To celebrate Fiesta and blood donors will receive the South Texas Blood & Tissue 2022 Fiesta medal and an eGift card of choice when they donate now until April 30. The Fiesta medal also comes to life virtually when viewed through a phone app. Donors can see the animation by scanning the QR code found on the back of the medal. 

To adequately support area hospitals, 600 donations are needed daily, and currently less than 400 donations are made. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those undergoing treatment for cancer or sickle cell disease require transfusions on a regular basis. 

Donors are encouraged to schedule a donation at SouthTexasBlood.org or call 210-731-5590.  

WHERE: Any South Texas Blood & Tissue Center donor room or blood drive.

Fiesta and spring break cause blood donations, drives in area to drop dramatically  

Celebrating lifesaving donors and Fiesta in a big way 

WHAT: The community blood supply has seen a significant decline in the last few weeks, as many donors have been on spring break. And with upcoming Fiesta celebrations, which tend to interrupt the usual schedule of donations and an increase in accidents that may require blood transfusions, hospitals are concerned that current appointments will not meet the needs of local patients. 

“Spring break is already a challenging time, as we see a drop in donations and blood drives as high schools and colleges are out,” said Adrienne Mendoza, Chief Operating Officer, South Texas Blood & Tissue. “Having Fiesta so close to spring break makes assuring that we have an adequate blood supply more challenging.”  

To celebrate Fiesta and blood donors will receive the South Texas Blood & Tissue 2022 Fiesta medal and an eGift card of choice when they donate now until April 30. The Fiesta medal also comes to life virtually when viewed through a phone app. Donors can see the animation by scanning the QR code found on the back of the medal. 

To adequately support area hospitals, 600 donations are needed daily, and currently less than 400 donations are made. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those undergoing treatment for cancer or sickle cell disease require transfusions on a regular basis. 

Donors are encouraged to schedule a donation at SouthTexasBlood.org or call 210-731-5590.  

WHERE: Any South Texas Blood & Tissue Center donor room or blood drive.