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.”