Proceeds from this year’s ball will go toward an applied research and development laboratory at GenCure, a subsidiary of BioBridge Global. Credit: Courtesy / BioBridge Global

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Almost three years ago, San Antonio real estate developer Marty Wender learned firsthand about the benefits of the robust healthcare and biosciences community in San Antonio.

Wender had always been a vocal advocate for the industry in South Texas, supporting the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, investing in related companies, and serving on multiple medical boards.

But in January 2016, he went from advocate to patient, as he suffered extensive burns in an accident in his home. He spent three months in the intensive care unit at the San Antonio Military Medical Center and one year in rehabilitation.

Among the treatments that helped in his recovery were skin grafts from the GenCure tissue program, which collects and prepares posthumously donated tissues (including skin, bones, and tendons) and makes them available for lifesaving medical procedures across South Texas.

Improving treatments for future burn victims and other wound care patients is why Wender is involved with the upcoming Red and White Ball, the annual gala for The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation.

Proceeds from this year’s ball will go toward an applied research and development laboratory at GenCure, which like the Foundation is a subsidiary of San Antonio-based nonprofit BioBridge Global.

Scientists will use the lab to develop new treatments for traumatic injuries, such as the second- and third-degree burns Wender suffered, as well as diabetic wounds and other conditions.

The lab and scientists within GenCure will also assist researchers across the country working to move new cellular therapies from theory to medical practice. The laboratory will be used to develop processes for large-scale manufacturing of adult stem cells for use in clinical trials and in providing new medical advances for patient care.

The Red and White Ball is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27 from 6:30-11:30 p.m. at the Marriott Rivercenter, 101 Bowie St., in downtown San Antonio.

Seats, tables and sponsorships are still available for the ball. For more information, contact Foundation Manager Mary Dial at 210-249-4498 or visit

The theme for the ball is “An Evening in Oz: There’s no Place Like Home.”

Since 2004, proceeds from the Red and White Ball have supported work within BioBridge Global and its subsidiaries, which also include the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center and QualTex Laboratories.

Rose Marie and Emerson (Buddy) Banack will receive the Chairman’s Award from the Foundation for their longstanding support of the organization. Methodist Healthcare Ministries will receive the Patron Award for its longstanding commitment and philanthropic support for BioBridge Global.

Wender’s story will be shared at the event, serving as a testament to the vitality and growth of the San Antonio medical community and the lifesaving regenerative medicine work being done at BioBridge Global and its subsidiaries.

Adriana Estrada serves as foundation development specialist with the Blood & Tissue Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Adriana worked for four years with the GenCure Marrow community engagement...