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2017 Team Bios

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  • Gary Van Kuiken, Team Captain
  • The Woodlands, TX

"This is my eighth tour and I've had the opportunity to meet many fantastic donors, donor families and recipients of organ, tissue, blood and marrow. Their stories are all very motivational. The need for more donors remains extremely important and the way to increase the number of donors is through increased awareness."

Becky Canal
  • Becky Canal
  • Tyler, TX

"Because of one family's selfless act of giving, we had 13 more years with our precious son."

Caleb Canal
  • Caleb Canal
  • Tyler, TX

"My brother received a heart transplant and I feel a great debt of gratitude to the donor family. I would love the opportunity to share my story and encourage others to make a life-giving choice."

Joe Canal
  • Joe Canal
  • Tyler, TX

"Our son, Joshua, was a heart transplant recipient in 1998. Because a family we didn't know agreed to give the gift of life, he was able to graduate from high school and college, get a job saving lives as a paramedic, marry a girl he loved and grew to be a man that his family, friends and coworkers loved and respected. When he passed away in 2011, he became a donor and continued the circle of life for others."

Seth Cooke
  • Seth Cooke
  • Tyler, TX

"My brother was an organ donor when he passed away in 2002 at the age of 19. I have participated in the Lone Star Circle of Life in the past as a day rider, and love having the opportunity to give back."

Tim Dixon
  • Tim Dixon
  • Trinity, TX

"Seeing the impact that organ and tissue donation makes for both the donor and receiving families has been my driving force behind this tour for many years. As a licensed funeral director, I get a different perspective for the donor families and want to share their stories."

Melanie Hartman
  • Melanie Hartman
  • Happy, TX

"When I was sick and on dialysis, I could barely walk ten feet without using every ounce of energy. Because of a kidney donation from my brother, I can now run anything from a 5K to ultra trail runs. I have been able to be a healthy wife, mom, sister and friend. I cannot think of a better way to honor, give hope and celebrate life than the Circle of Life Tour."

Thomas Lacombe
  • Thomas Lacombe
  • Houston, TX

"I want to be an advocate for sharing the gift of life."

Sarah Pipkin-Love
  • Sarah Pipkin-Love
  • Corpus Christi, TX

"I had my first open heart surgery at two weeks of age. Throughout school, I played many sports, but concentrated on Soccer. I was recruited to play college soccer and also began biking. I went into “a-fib” in 2009, and was put on the heart transplant list. I was blessed with a 14 year-old boy’s heart. As soon as I could, I was running again and I was allowed to start playing soccer once again about five months after the transplant. I have run a half marathon and competed in a triathlon. I have also had the wonderful experience of meeting Dillon’s (my donor) family."

Carol Wingate
  • Carol Wingate
  • Fayetteville, AR

"In my profession, I'm able to witness the impact of how a blood infusion, bone marrow, organ and tissue donation can give health and life back to patients and their families. I have been donating blood for many years. Currently, I am a Bone marrow Courier and feel very honored to be given the opportunity to share with others the need for donations through the Lone Star Circle of Life. If I can make a difference in one person’s life, it is worth it do to this ride and educate others about donation!"

Support Team

Keith Steward
  • Keith Steward
  • Gatesville, TX

"I received a kidney transplant from a living non-related donor, and former LSCOL rider, in 2007. Two other members of my family are kidney transplant recipients. I feel that I have a calling and obligation to share my experiences to both encourage those waiting for transplants and to educate others about the critical need for organ donors."

Debbie Fendrick
  • Debbie Fendrick
  • Temple, TX

"This is the eighth year I have been on the support team for the Lone Star Circle of Life, but I have volunteered for various areas of the tour for many more years. I am also a volunteer for the Baylor Scott & White Pediatric Hematology/Oncology team by assisting at Camp Dreamcatcher, a camp for children with cancer."

Holly McCoy
  • Holly McCoy
  • Pflugerville, Texas

"I have been a volunteer for Be The Match since holding my first registration drive while at Temple High School and continued throughout my college years at Texas Tech University. This will be my tenth Lone Star Circle of Life Bike Tour."

Debbie Mabry
  • Debbie Mabry
  • Temple, Texas

"I have recently retired after 24 years as the manager of the Baylor Scott & White Marrow Donor Program. In those years, I saw the joy of a patient finding a matched donor as well as the tragedy of those who did not find a matched donor. This tour is a way to reach out to our fellow Texans and encourage them to learn about blood, marrow, organ and tissue donation and make an educated decision about being a donor."

Beverly Luedke
  • Beverly Luedke
  • Temple, Texas

"What an opportunity to see humanity at work. Having the chance to assist in the Lone Star Circle of Life gives me the opportunity to feel as if I too am giving back. I applaud these cyclists for what they are doing and what little I can do to make their ride easier is certainly worth it. This project is life changing and is truly saving lives. Why wouldn’t I want to be part of it. "Thank you" to everyone participating."

Rhonda Trest
  • Rhonda Trest
  • Waco, Texas

Rhonda is a retired teacher from Robinson and this is the first Lone Star tour. Rhonda says, "I had a baby, Rachel, who was born premature and survived only one month. The doctors and nurses were wonderful and warned that if Rachel lived, there would b numerous complication and obstacles to her survival. This is one of the reasons I want to help with this bike tour – to help spread the word of the importance of donating bone marrow, organs and blood for those who have a chance to live if given these gifts."

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