It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season is inching its way closer. Before it’s in full swing, remember to update your Amazon Smile account to benefit The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation—and remind your friends and family to do the same.
Instructions for the Amazon app:
Open the Amazon app. Go to settings and select Amazon Smile. From there you can select change charity and search for South Texas Blood & Tissue. Click select. Instructions from Amazon also can be found here.
Please note Amazon Smile in the app is not available for iPads and other tablet devices. To shop Amazon Smile on your tablet, type smile.amazon.com into the browser.
Instructions from a website:
Click the Amazon Smile link unique to the South Texas Blood & Tissue. This link directs you to shop at smile.amazon.com and generate donations that go to The Foundation. We encourage you to share this link and bookmark it on your computer so all your eligible shopping will benefit The Foundation, no matter what device you shop on.
The one-month countdown has begun to this year’s Red & White Ball, The Heart of the Matter. This year’s committees led by Elizabeth and Scott McMillian have been hard at work alongside the 20th Anniversary Campaign led by Alli and Danny Kustoff to help bring awareness to this year’s cause and us closer to our goal of $500,000 with a reach goal of $750,000. To date, their hard work has resulted in $573,085 raised so far.
Funds raised from this year’s event will help meet the rising demand for blood by helping to replace recently discontinued collection equipment and upgrade blood storage and delivery facilities that have not been updated in 15 years.
Thank you to everyone who has purchased their ticket, tables and raffle early. Please be on the lookout for your invitations that were mailed just before the Labor Day weekend. Please have your table and ticket purchases in by Oct. 1 and room reservation by Oct. 5. Group rate room availability is limited.
Presale raffle tickets are available at six for $500. Night of raffle sales will be $100 per ticket. Raffle packages with photos will be viewable on the Red & White Ball website by Oct. 7.
Thank you to all who have donated a bottle of wine to the wine raffle package. If you have not yet done so, please arrange with Mary Dial for pickup or delivery by Oct. 10. Those interested in volunteering for setup/teardown, registration and raffle sales may also do so with Mary.
What part of the organization and mission speaks most to you and why?
Our initial interest in South Texas Blood & Tissue came from our own personal story. Alli has a bleeding disorder that required many units of plasma during her pregnancies and deliveries. She would solicit friends to donate designated plasma, with Danny being her primary donor. It was a complicated process in terms of donating and receiving the designated plasma while in labor, but South Texas Blood & Tissue always came through. Not only did Alli utilize this service, but her older brother and younger sister also have the same bleeding disorder and were also regular recipients of plasma for surgeries and deliveries. After getting involved on the board, we came to learn how many ways South Texas Blood & Tissue is able to save so many lives with a variety of blood and tissue products. Fortunately today, it is not necessary to receive designated products as the general supply is able to provide the necessary products. Therefore, we truly see the importance of having a regular stream of donors so these products are always available.
What do you like to do?
We particularly like to spread the word of the wonderful things South Texas Blood & Tissue does through social media and events.
What motivates you?
Hearing stories of people’s lives being saved by these products is very motivating. Recognizing when there’s a shortage and knowing the only solution is physical donation motivates us to continually make people aware of the need. Every single person probably knows someone who has needed blood products. Some are horrific accidents, some are necessary or elective surgeries, and some are illnesses like leukemia. To know that humans can save other humans by simply rolling up their sleeves and donating inspires us to never stop raising monies or communicating this need.
Is there anything about your time on the board you would like to share? Most cherished moments, greatest accomplishments, something you are looking forward to?
We have met some really wonderful friends through this organization. We have also witnessed beautiful success stories and true heartache when a life could not be saved. It is inspiring to see the incredible growth of this agency and how much more they are able to accomplish with the blood products they receive to save as many lives as possible. We are very excited to see newer technology being installed in the coming year to make the donation process easier and more efficient.
This year’s Big Give, a popular online community day of giving hosted by The Nonprofit Council, is just around the corner. The 24-hour fundraising event will run from 6 p.m. September 22 to 6 p.m. September 23, a notable change from its previous midnight to midnight timeframe. The community at large is invited to support their favorite nonprofit by donating to the nonprofit’s dedicated page or even creating their own fundraising page to share their personal story of why they Give Big.
We invite you to help spread awareness by sharing social media posts and asking your network to support during Match Minutes. During the specified Match Minutes listed below, online gifts through The Foundation’s page, up to the maximum amount for that minute, will be matched dollar for dollar until the pool runs out.
Holiday weekends are historically challenging times for the blood supply. In anticipation of this year’s Labor Day weekend, South Texas Blood & Tissue partnered with WOAI/KABB to promote the annual Give to Live blood drive. The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation, thanks to the generosity of MOD Pizza and a Bank of America grant, secured 2,000 vouchers and gift cards for weekend donors.
Before the blood drive, South Texas Blood & Tissue reported a two-day low blood supply. The holiday drive efforts brought in over 2,300 units of blood. Thank you to all who helped spread the word. If you haven’t yet had a chance, please help us thank your local MOD Pizza location in San Antonio or New Braunfels.
For Shannon Windrow, a longtime member of the board of directors of The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation, the organization’s 20th anniversary celebration has special meaning.
“On Jan. 25, he had what we refer to as Zach’s second birthday,” Windrow said of the day in 2002 when her baby, diagnosed with a condition that could have led to a lifetime need for blood transfusions or high risk of a blood cancer like leukemia, received a stem cell transplant.
Those stem cells came from a donated umbilical cord, a genetic match that came through South Texas Blood & Tissue. They saved Zach Windrow’s life.
The Foundation, which has raised more than $30 million since its inception, was founded to help launch the Texas Cord Blood Bank, a program of South Texas Blood & Tissue. The bank has gone on to save hundreds of lives like Zach’s and assist researchers looking into new therapies based on stem cells collected from what often is discarded as medical waste.
In a retrospective of 20 years of fundraising, The Foundation board – including Shannon Windrow – heard about major projects the organization has supported at South Texas Blood & Tissue and BioBridge Global.
“The number of lives impacted by The Foundation? You wouldn’t be able to count them all,” said Martin Landon, Chief Executive Officer of BioBridge Global, the nonprofit parent organization of South Texas Blood & Tissue, QualTex Laboratories, GenCure and The Foundation.
“And with all of today’s innovations, we’ll be able to do even more with your help.”
Among the projects supported by The Foundation in the last two decades:
Additional bioarchive units in the Texas Cord Blood Bank
Devices used for peripheral blood stem cell and therapeutic blood collections
Expansion of the BioBridge Global Center for Innovations and Biodesign
Replacement of aging blood collection buses
Addition of new South Texas Blood & Tissue donor centers in Boerne and Bulverde
“You can hear a lot about projects, but it’s really more important for people to hear about the thousands of patients who have been helped,” said Mary Uhlig, Executive Director of The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation.
Patients like Zach Windrow, who today is a junior at Texas Tech University, is studying toward a career as an orthodontist.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone who has given to The Foundation through the years,” his mother said. “Thank you so much.”
From Clay Howell, Director, Development, The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation
What a year, as we celebrate 20 years’ service to South Texas! You may recall in our last newsletter, I mentioned that opportunity abounds. Since then, opportunity has been seized as a board member-led campaign to support the Red & White Ball in raising funds to replace discontinued mobile blood collection equipment has seen resounding success.
Board members have secured numerous major gifts from compassionate individuals across our service area. This illustrates the power and influence of The Foundation’s volunteer leadership. We cannot thank you enough.
Events that impact the community also influence personal connection with our lifesaving work. Disasters – natural or human-made – result in more online giving than usual.
The attack on students and staff at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde touched the hearts of many across the United States and in Canada, resulting in hundreds of online gifts supporting our response to the tragedy.
These gifts joined donations made locally supporting blood donor recruitment, donor appreciation and blood collection. Donors include Walmart, Argo Group, H-E-B, Bank of America, 3M, Southwestern Motor Transport (SMT), USAA Foundation and the Joan & Herb Kelleher Charitable Foundation.
We are almost three-quarters through the year with more than $2.5M in gift requests outstanding. Here’s looking to an exciting final quarter!