The Lone Star Circle of Life Bike Tour stopped in Tyler today to honor an East Texas paramedic who passed away last year.
The Lone Star Circle of Life Bike Tour was started 15 years ago by a grassroots group trying to raise awareness about organ donation, organizer Debbie Mabry said.
"We're trying to get people to be aware that there are needs in their own community for blood donors, organ and tissue donors. We do that by riding across the state for eight days," Mabry said.
Twelve bicyclist will travel to numerous Texas cities, bringing their message of donation. Many riders ride in honor of someone who has had a donation or is an advocate for donation.
Josh Canal of Tyler was both and this year Josh is the title honoree of the bike tour.
Josh was born with a heart condition and at 17 years old he wasn't going to make it unless he got a heart transplant.
"When the time came, we were just really afraid that he wouldn't make it. Everything worked on him except his heart. We didn't know if he was going to live," Canal said.
Josh was blessed receive the heart of a 12 year old boy, just in time, Joe said.
"Since someone thought of us in their darkest hour, josh got a new heart. Since he got that heart at 17 years old, he was able to graduate high school, get a job he loved, marry the woman he loved. He just had a great life," Canal said.
Josh died last October when his body rejected his heart transplant and he wasn't able to get a new one in time.
At today's ceremony josh is being honored, not only for his families involvement in the tour for the past ten years, but because he is a recipient of a heart and he made it clear that he wanted to be a donor.
"Oh he made it known. He thought that since he had a heart transplant that everyone should have a second chance. He called them second chance heroes because they gave someone else a second chance at life," Pam Canal, Josh's wife, said.
"Josh would want everyone to have a talk with their family about organ donation, because that's what's important," Canal said.
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