Why We Ride

Donate Life: Register as an Organ, Tisue and Eye Donor

WHY WE RIDE

We ride for passion, we ride for LIFE - honoring donors and their families, the impact of their gift on the lives of recipients, and the critical importance of increasing organ, eye, and tissue donor awareness. 


 

Their Stories. Our Inspiration.

 


 


Circle for Life Honors:

2016 honorees

Patrick Michael Linehan
Patrick Michael Linehan
18-year-old Tissue and Eye Donor

On November 2, 2008, just 10 minutes away from our house, Patrick passed away in a single vehicle accident at the age of 18. Patrick was the type of person that always made it a point to stand out in any situation; as if his red hair and freckles didn’t take care of that. It was this along with his infectious personality and contagious smile that drew people to him. He was always helping others and felt a sense of responsibility to protect and defend anyone and everyone. It was his insatiable zest for life that set him apart from most. Our decision to donate his tissue and cornea was in large part based on the compassion he had for others and his willingness to help those in need at every opportunity. We know that Patrick would not have wanted it any other way. Through his donation, two people received the gift of sight while several others received tissue. While my brother’s passing has been extremely difficult on my family, it brings us joy to know that he continues to impact the lives of so many.

~ Natalie N. Deleon

Rudolfo Elizondo
Ralph M. Lazarine
64-year-old Eye Donor

Ralph proudly served our country in the United States Air Force. He retired from Datapoint Corporation after 25 years of loyal service and later became the COO of Sherman Assembly Systems. In 2010, we received the devastating news my father had lung cancer. He never complained and took his treatments like a champ! He had the best outlook knowing he was going to beat cancer and not let cancer beat him! In 2011, we received news that his chemo and radiation therapy was no longer able to fight the fight! My father’s words was “Cancer Sucks!” My father asked me to make a promise and not knowing what he was to ask I said “Yes, dad anything for you!” He had tears in his eyes and asked me to make sure he became a donor. He smiled and said “I want to make a difference and help other people “see” the beauty of what the world has to offer.” My mother and I honored my father’s wish to donate his corneas to research. He was not only the light to our family but he became the “Light to Many!”

~ Deb Cotter

Daniel Martin Polhemus
Daniel Martin Polhemus
19-year-old Organ and Research Donor

Daniel was born on New Year’s Day, 1986. Five days later we adopted him, welcoming him with his big Texas smile into our hearts and our home. As he grew, he was always very caring and loved by many. His favorite saying was “I got your back.” In retrospect, being an organ donor is the ultimate “got your back” and we know that is what Daniel would have wanted. Daniel was a regular high school graduate; entry level jobs, learning to live away from home and making decisions about college. But his plans were cut short on a bright January Saturday by a common driving error, a split second that would change our lives forever. On February 5, 2005, Daniel was a successful donor of his liver, both kidneys and his pancreas. We tell people that other than our faith in God, Daniel being a successful donor has been the greatest comfort we could have in the loss of our son. Daniel’s life was not lost, it was shared.

~ Carmen Polhemus

Officer Robert Carey Deckard Jr.
Officer Robert “Bobby” Carey Deckard Jr.
31-year-old Organ Donor

Bobby was a San Antonio Police Officer for 7 years and a member of the honor guard division. On December 8, 2013 Bobby was in pursuit of 2 suspects that had been committing armed robberies, he sustained a head wound and passed away on December 20,2013. Bobby’s story became national news. His status changed to “Hero” and the United States flag was draped over his casket. Bobby’s funeral was the largest San Antonio ever had, his SAPD badge #0582 was retired during his grave side service and announced at 13:52 on all SAPD radios across the city.

~ Yvonne Whitney;

Cooper Floyd
Cooper Floyd
15-year-old Organ, Tissue, and Eye Donor

It was a question that required no thought. Not as far as I was concerned. Organ donation is and was the answer. Cooper was such a powerhouse. He was handsome, sweet, athletic, and all boy-adventurous and a dare devil. He loved many and was loved by many. Cooper was a gift from God. He stayed with us for only 15 years but in that short time he spread more love, laughter, and life than anyone could have ever imagined. So, it is only natural that he continues his incredible spirit and legacy through others. Truly, I had no idea the affects his gift of life would have. I simply knew that because he was Copper and he would have it no other way. Today and forever, his brothers, father and I will cherish the memories and pray that Cooper’s gift of organs is honored.

~ Christine and Kevin Floyd

Christopher Luke Arnold
Christopher Luke Arnold
27-year-old Organ Donor

Our experience as a donor family is hard to put into words. We were so delighted to be able to give Luke’s organs to a person in need. I thank the Organ Donor Alliance, for it allowed extra hours with Luke while waiting for all of his organs to be placed. Luke’s death was very unexpected and was caused by a traumatic brain injury from an ATV accident. I know that the recipients who have received his 3 organs have a special place in our heart-as a part of Luke remains within them. Luke has definitely left a legacy and touched so many people. He was a scholar student who was very strong willed and because of this characteristic he was a leader throughout our community. Luke left behind a wife, a 13 month old son, and a close knit family who all have been deeply affected by his death. His passion for family, friends, hunting, and sports are all features of Luke that everyone that is close to him strives to live out daily.

~ nah Arnold

Dillion M. Christian
Dillion M. Christian
5-year-old Cornea Donor

Dillion was 19 years old when he went to be with the Lord in Heaven on June 1, 2014 as the result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident. One of the special gifts God gave our “sweet boy” was the ability to see the good in all people. He was a loving brother to his older sister, Madalyn, and younger sister, Bari. Dillion’s love of sports, especially the Texas Longhorns, was both admirable and contagious. He was a trusted and loyal friend who always wanted to help those in need. This was never more evident than when he voluntarily signed up to be an Organ Donor while getting his driver’s license at the age of 16 and again upon renewal at 18. His organ gifts have prolonged or improved the quality of life of 7 people as well as countless others that received his corneas, bone and tissue. His spirit will live forever in these individuals as well as our hearts.

~ Joy and Dale Christian

Justin Bateman
Justin Bateman
28-year-old Organ, Tissue, Eyes, and Research Donor

The story began on March 15,2015 when I learned my son, Justin Bateman, had been critically injured in a motorcycle accident. I remember it as if it was yesterday. He suffered massive head trauma and a CAT scan had revealed no brain activity or hope for recovery. The rest of that day and evening was a blur of family, friends and medical staff coming and going, along with many tears, and we all prayed together as our Assistant Rector of our church anointed Justin. Just one month before the accident, Justin had become a minor celebrity where he was deemed as a “Good Samaritan” by the local media after stopping to assist at another fatal traffic accident. Justin had not registered as a donor and to me there was no question that Justin would want to do this. We all knew this was what Justin would want-to help other people. Justin’s “big heart”, liver, kidneys, corneas, and other skin and bone tissue was used to help many transplant patients.

~ Janice (JK) Huey

2015 Honorees

Timothy Arredondo
Timothy Andrew Arredondo
11-year-old Organ Donor

Timothy kept us on our toes every day of his eleven years of life.  He was adventurous and loved to experience every little thing around him.  He was not afraid to climb the tallest tree or ride the scariest rollercoaster. He was in gifted and talented classes at his Elementary School and was always surround by those he loved – friends, cousins, and pets. On April 23, 2003, our son was struck by a hit and run driver. Our son remained on life support for seven days before we were approached about donating our son’s organs.  We did not have to think about this decision for very long, we knew we wanted to donate.

~ Gloria and Jesse Arredondo

Rudolfo Elizondo
Rodolfo T. Elizondo
56-year-old Eye and Tissue Donor

Our life changed on June 25, 2011 when my high school sweetheart and husband of 37 years suffered a massive heart attack that took him from us.  Rudy was a loving, kind and gentle man.  He was tall, dark and handsome. He was my gentle giant.  At his wake, we had people he knew share their stories of how Rudy touched their lives.  He was a man of few words but his quiet actions spoke for themselves.  He made sure I knew that if he passed before me that I would be sure to donate as much of his body as possible.  Honoring his wishes has helped me during this painful time of grieving.  I find assurance that maybe someone I pass on the streets or at the local store, may be the person who has benefited from Rudy’s generous nature.    

~ Veronica Elizondo

Dot Delarosa
Dot Delarosa
Lung Recipient

It began in 2008; I had this constant cough that would not go away.  We met with a Pulmonologist and the first thing he said to me was that I have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.  With the severity of my lungs via x-ray, he said I had to go straight to the hospital to have a biopsy done to confirm his diagnosis.   I had possibly 2-5 years to live and the only thing that would save me would be a lung transplant.  There was no cure for what I had. I remember thinking; I’m going to die.  This is my time.  I have been given a second chance because of a selfless most generous “friend” that I never met (my donor).

~ Dot Delarosa   

Jasmine Garcia
Jasmine Garcia
13-year-old Organ Donor

In 2001 my family and I lost Jasmine in a rollover accident we were involved in on our way home from Monterrey, MX. Jasmine was ejected and was in a coma for 12 days. When she arrived to University Hospital, we were told she was brain dead.  As difficult as the decision was at the time to donate her organs, I could only think of the families that were waiting for a miracle. On the day of the accident I saw Jasmine on the ground about 30ft from our SUV and couldn’t do anything to help my baby girl so I knew this was the best decision I could make. Jasmine was 13-years-old with a smile that could light up a room. She was my heaven on earth and was able to save two lives with her heart and liver.  

~ Norma Garcia   

Zachary Baza
Zachary Baza
Small Bowel, Liver, and Pancreas Recipient

Zachary was born with several blockages in his small intestine. Over the next four months he had three surgeries. The surgeries were unsuccessful and since Zach had been on intravenous nutrition for so long, he went into liver failure.  It was then that we were told that there was nothing more that could be done. The hospital staff told us we could invite family and friends to say goodbye.  Al l we needed to do was sign a DNR. We asked to go home to pray about it.  When we returned the next day, the director of the NICU told us about a hospital in Omaha that specialized in small bowel/liver transplants.  Needless to say, we did not sign the DNR but time was of the essence.  We were told if we did not get “the call” within the next couple of days, Zach would be too sick to transplant. On Zach’s 6-month birthday, we received the wonderful call that organs had been received for Zach!  Zachary is now 7-years-old, in first grade, and running and playing as if he was never sick.

~ Carmelita Baza

Valente Luna
Valente Luna
41-year-old Organ, Eye, Tissue and Research Donor

My husband Valente and I worked together side by side as nurses for many years, caring for critically ill patients at University Hospital.  Never did I think I would one day be on the other side of the fence.  Valente was an amazing competitive cyclist and runner.  He could create laughter at the drop of a hat for everyone around him; and he could also provide great comfort for those who suffered pain and grief.  The day Valente’s organs were donated; I walked beside him as he was wheeled to the operating room.  As I leaned forward to whisper in his ear, I felt a great overwhelming joy race through my body. I knew this would be the day he would make miracles happen for others. On this day Valente won his final race and the biggest prize………to give to others so that others can live on. And we were all with him at the finish line.

~ Debra Luna-Jones

Jaslynn Hernandez
Jaslynn F. Hernandez
5-year-old Cornea Donor

My daughter Jaslynn was the most amazing little girl you could have ever met.  A month after her 4th birthday, Jaslynn was diagnosed with brain cancer.  She was strong, happy, loving and selfless.  Jaslynn was a fighter.  The worst words I have ever heard are “there is nothing else we can do, the cancer has spread.” Jaslynn lost her battle with cancer at just 5-years-old. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her.  Because she lived, she filled so many people with happiness, hope, faith and love.  Because she lived, she made me a better person. Because she lived, two people were given the gift of sight.  And that is how she will be remembered.

~ Hope Sepulveda

Yvette Gonzalez
Yvette Gonzalez
20 year-old Organ Donor

Just days before Yvette’s fatal accident I had a discussion with her about riding on the back of her friend’s motorcycle saying “I don’t want anyone calling me at 2 a.m. saying that you’re in the hospital either dead or seriously injured.”  When I told Yvette to be careful, I was just being a mom; but after everything happened, I realized God was preparing me for the hardship I was about to endure. A 2:30 a.m. on June 28, 2003, I received the call I feared the most. It was Yvette’s best friend on the other end of the line crying and telling me that Yvette was involved in a motorcycle accident and doctors gave her no hope. Just hours after arriving to the hospital, Yvette was declared brain dead. The hardest decision of my life was to take my one and only daughter off life support.  Organs donated were her heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver; giving others a second chance at life. 

~ Lalie Soto-Gomez

If you would like to nominate someone to be considered for a Circle For Life Honoree to participate in the 2017 Fiesta Flambeau Parade, please fill out the nomination form and submit to the contact information in the application.