The Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP) recently was honored with the LifeStream’s 2018 Humanitarian of the Year award. Joe Wallace, CVEP’S CEO, accepted the award at the Riverside Convention Center at LifeStream’s 35th Annual Gift of Life Tribute and Awards Ceremony, with special acknowledgement to La Quinta Mayor Linda Evans, Councilmember Jan Harnik of Palm Desert and Councilmember Elaine Holmes of Indio for their contribution to the LifeStream mission statement – “We help save lives by connecting donors and patients through the gift of blood”.

“When the idea of a valley wide blood collection competition was brought up, CVEP immediately saw this as an opportunity to serve the people of the Coachella Valley in a very important way,” said Joe Wallace, CVEP’s CEO. “There was never any doubt that supporting this event with our facilities and our extensive marketing network was the right thing to do. It was a special joy to be honored along with La Quinta Mayor Linda Evans and Councilmember Jan Harnik of Palm Desert and Councilmember Elaine Holmes of Indio for being a part of establishing a program that saves lives.”

The Humanitarian of the Year recipient is selected based upon its overall support of the LifeStream mission statement and, specifically, its leadership in creating a novel approach to battle an inherent health care issue stemming from a significant number of “snowbirds” leaving the Valley during summer. While Valley population dips by up to 30 percent, summertime blood use at local hospitals remains static and is susceptible to spike due to local emergencies.

“The passion for our mission displayed by CVEP as an organization and from high-profile individuals who serve on its board of directors is inspiring,” said Rick Axelrod, MD, LifeStream’s President and CEO. “They collaborated on and continue to support a lasting, meaningful initiative that each year gains in recognition and popularity. And the commitment is all about others –  Valley patients in need. LifeStream was proud to honor that dedication with the Humanitarian of the Year Award.”

Thus, in summer 2013, LifeStream’s Coachella Valley Nine Cities Blood Drive Challenge was born. The concept of each major Valley community “competing” to collect the most blood from residents was an immediate hit, spawning good natured rivalries as the eye for all remained firmly on the “real winners” of the challenge – local patients in need.