Wizarding World for Lucky Donor

wizarding-worldThanks to Tracy Frith, Loan Officer at Summit Financial Services, the Executives’ Association of Kern County Monthly Prize for June is four passes to Universal Studios Hollywood to visit the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Although the new attraction has only been open a couple of months, everyone who has been so far has really loved it. There are no forms to fill out to enter, we do a random drawing from all the donors at both donor centers and all the mobile drives to choose the June winner.

Tracy Frith PhotoTracy is a long time member of the Executives’ Association of Kern County. She has been a local Mortgage Broker since 1995 and holds both a California Real Estate License and an NMLS license. She is a past member of the Active 20/30 Club, Women’s Council of Realtors, was on the 2014 and 2015 Committee for the Bakersfield Association of Realtors Wine Tasting and Auction, plus an active Board Member of the Real Estate Professionals Family Relief Fund. Tracy offers all types of Residential Financing including FHA, Conventional, VA and Construction Loans.  Her strong attention to detail provides for a stress free transaction. If you are thinking about refinancing or purchasing a new home, and looking for great service, Tracy can be reached at tracy@gotosummitfinancial.com or 661-472-0932.

Condors Sponsor Hamburger Day

national-hamburger-day-may-28National Hamburger Day is Saturday, May 28th, and thanks to the Bakersfield Condors each donor at the donor centers will receive a coupon for a free hamburger from 8 am to 2 pm! Donors have the choice of either a Carl’s Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger or a Jumbo Jack from Jack in the Box.  We need to ensure there are enough blood products on the shelves to get us through the Memorial Day Weekend since we will be closed on Sunday and Monday.

Condors TicketsThat Saturday is also the last day of the Freedom Week Blood Drive, when donors can vote for their favorite branch of the armed forces while also entering to win a fabulous $2000 trip to anywhere sponsored by Setton Farms.   There is nothing more All-American than a hamburger on Memorial Day weekend, so be sure to get yours while supporting patients with a blood, platelet or plasma donation compliments of the Condors.

It is not too early to dream of the next season of exciting hockey in Condorstown. Season passes are on sale now!

Kern’s Big Give on May 3

Logowebsite Give Big KernHouchin is one of 124 participating organizations in the Give Big Kern event on May 3, 2016. We seek donations of blood, platelets and plasma that day. There is no need to sign-up on-line,  just come on in for a whole blood donation or click here to request that we save you a chair for plasma and platelet donations.

Kristen Barnes, president and CEO of the Kern Community Foundation, which is organizing Give Big Kern says the event is not all about money, it’s Donor thumbs upalso about raising awareness of nonprofits operating locally and engaging the community to volunteer with those organizations.

“Obviously we want to encourage people to donate, but it was really critical to me that we not just be about the money, but also engage people with volunteerism. There’s really no reason for anybody to say they can’t do Give Big Kern. You can give dollars, or you can do hours,” according to Barnes.

Give Big KernThe one-day Give Big Kern donation extravaganza is Kern County’s first foray into a movement of single-day give-a-thon style events sweeping the country, that uses the internet and social media as the organizational tools instead of television. During the event, we hope to see many more donors than usual that day at both donor centers and in Kern River Valley from noon to 6 pm at the First Baptist Church of Lake Isabella. For our social media savvy donors, be sure to use #givebigkern with your posts that day to be part of this county-wide event.



Urgent Blood Need

Because of higher than usual need for O+ and O- red cells, we have not had full shelves of those blood types since December 2015.  Use in extreme traumas is up 5%, and the needs of cancer patients are up a staggering 35%! It’s no wonder we are unable to keep our O shelves more than half full.

Unfortunately we see almost empty shelves too often. Orders from our hospitals and transfusion centers have required so many units all at once that we’ve had to turn twice to other blood banks outside Kern County to meet the need just since January.  To avoid this frightening situation, we must find more willing O type blood donors to join our team, and be successful in encouraging current O type donors to come in more often.

Os we need youIf you have O type blood, please come in to save lives by donating a pint, then make a repeat appointment to come back in 8 weeks.  We will call to remind you of your appointment, and you can always cancel if plans change. Booking that next appointment is an easy way to know when you are eligible so you can better plan that all important visit!

If you know anyone who is O+ or O-, please tell them about our ongoing need for their help. The number one reason people say they donate blood is because someone asked them to, so consider this our request.  A robust, safe and ready blood supply depends on all of us. Thanks for your help!


April is a Rusty’s Pizza Month

Rusty's GirlRusty’s Pizza is a long time supporter of blood donation in our community. Our friends at Rusty’s provide coupons for a free individual cheese or pepperoni pizza to each donor in the months of January, April, July, and October each year. The coupons are good at any of Rusty’s nine convenient locations.This is an amazing commitment to recognizing our blood donors unmatched in the industry.

Rustys-LogoSince its beginning, Rusty’s has been involved in the community with a strong emphasis on children through school programs and youth organizations. Student blood donors also get the individual pizza coupons at school blood drives all year. We appreciate Rusty’s sense of community and support of blood donation. Thank you Rusty’s Pizza!

2016 Gold Club Dinner

Gold Club Dinner

Invitees and their guests enjoy the annual Gold Club Dinner at Hodel’s.

The 2016 Gold Club Dinner was held at Hodel’s on Saturday March 19th. Two hundred and fifty donors gave gold products on our trima machines at least 6 times in 2015 for an invitation for themselves and a guest to the dinner. A list of these frequent Gold Club donors appeared in the Bakersfield Californian on March 18, 2016 as provided here.

After the generous buffet, President and CEO, Greg Gallion provided those present with Houchin’s year in review.  Greg was joined by Patrick Clary, Materials and Blood Inventory Manager, who discussed our commitment to avoiding outdating any products.

Bob and Tennie Pomroy

Bob and Tennie Pomroy were the guest speakers sharing his fight against cancer.

They were followed by a heartfelt keynote address by Bob Pomroy and his wife Tennie. Tracy Hunter, Community Development Account Manager, introduced the couple, and told how Bob’s request to be squeezed in for a platelet appointment showed him to have a seriously low platelet count which ultimately lead to months of very difficult, but ultimately successful, treatments for a rare form of leukemia.

Bob and Tennie credit the early detection made possible by the pre-screening at Houchin; Bob’s excellent local treatment which required many blood products; and their faith, for seeing him through to remission. They thanked all the donors present for the gifts of life that Bob received, and for their ongoing service to other patients.

Gold Club Winner

Daniel Reed and his wife enjoyed the dinner, especially when he was chosen winner of a special prize.

Gold Club members can enter a special drawing each time they donate for a $50 monthly prize. Those entry tickets were saved all year, and 10 selected for a special drawing. The pre-selected donors were asked to stand while the one winning name was drawn. Daniel Reed ran happily to the stage to collect his one-of-a kind Gold Club cooler and $50 BevMo gift card.

Gary and Greg

Gary Ketchell was recognized by President and CEO Greg Gallion for his 1000 Gold Club achievement in 2015.



Greg Gallion, recognized Gary Ketchell for being the first to reach the 1000 platelet/plasma donation mark. Gary was presented with a unique Gold Club jacket and travel case marking this momentous achievement, as well as a $100 gift card to his favorite restaurant.  Gary’s son works for Arnold Schwarzenegger, who sent a cell phone video of congratulations available here.

Prize drawings ended the evening, and each guest took home pistachios provided by Gary Ketchell, and Rold Gold pretzels compliments of Gold Club Member Mike Mayo and Frito Lay. The embroidered awards were provided compliments of Wall Street Imprintables. Terumo BCT was recognized for a cash contribution to the evening, and the following businesses were recognized for providing monthly Gold Club prizes in 2015:

  • Cruz Thru Express Car Wash
  • Stanley Black & Decker
  • The Home Depot
  • McDonald’s
  • BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
  • Firehouse
  • Hodel’s

You can access more photographs of the Gold Club Dinner at our Facebook Album.

For information on how you can attend the 2016 Gold Club Dinner, call Peggy Smith at 661-616-2540.

New Trauma Methods Change Needs

Hospital CropAccording to the National Institute of Health, it is estimated that the vast majority of people hospitalized with bleeding have suffered a trauma.  Only 8 percent of all patients admitted to hospitals receive red cells, and only 3 percent receive more than 10 units of red cells during their admission. Just 1.7 percent receive 10 units in the first 24 hours of admission. Additionally, the number of patients needing 10 units or more has decreased by 40 percent as more plasma and platelets are given earlier. Changing protocols for dealing with trauma patients have led to a decrease in red cells required by hospitals and an increase in the need for platelets and plasma coming from volunteer blood donors.

We reached out to Kern Medical, our local Level II Trauma Hospital, for more information about this trend.  Dr. Ruby Skinner, MD, Chief of Trauma Services and Director of Surgical Critical Care at Kern Medical, shared this information about transfusion practices for massive blood loss due to trauma:

hospital_building_wallscapeThere has been a significant amount of research regarding how to best replace blood lost due to traumatic injury. The management of our injured soldiers in the Middle East has been the source of the majority of the research and has guided transfusion practices in the civilian sector. The replacement of not only packed red blood cells, but also of equal volumes of plasma and platelets has proven to be lifesaving. In fact, death rates due to major injury and blood loss have dropped significantly with the aggressively transfusion of plasma and platelets in the setting of massive blood loss.

We have conducted research studies at Kern Medical that confirms what has been established in military research studies. At Kern Medical, when we replace plasma and platelets in addition to high volumes of packed red blood cells, our outcomes are improved and more lives are saved.  Our compelling research was shared with the academic trauma community in Southern California at a major surgical meeting earlier this year.

Kern MedicalIn summary, the loss of large volumes of blood can be fatal. The practice of early replacement of blood with plasma and platelets has proven to improve outcomes and save lives.

We thank Kern Medical for sharing this information with us!

Special Treat for Donors

All Day BreakfastMcDonald’s has long supported blood donation in our community. Donors at both donor centers will be treated to a coupon in March.  The current offering is for one free All Day Breakfast item.  McDonald’s breakfast was so popular in the morning that many favorites are now available all day.

Earlier in the month, the coupon was for a free medium beverage and small fries with the purchase of a Create Your Taste™ Burger.  Kern County is one of just a few locations in the country sampling this new idea in sandwich customization at McDonald’s. The sandwich is ordered inside the restaurant on a touchscreen so the customer gets exactly what they want served to them at their table.  Single or double burgers, grilled or buttermilk crispy chicken is added to an artisan roll, cibatta bread or lettuce wrap. Then you can really get creative with four cheeses, 11 toppings, and 9 sauces to choose from for just the taste sensation you want.

Mcdonalds_logoThere are 19 convenient McDonald’s locations in Kern County, so come on in to donate during March to score your coupon! The coupons will be available in the canteens to pick up after your donation. Just take the invitation provided by our staff member to the canteen appointments desk and you will both be entered to win prizes whether an appointment is made or not.  We hope to inform donors how important return appointments are to us in managing the blood supply during this promotion.

Spring Fling for a Lucky Donor

Wizard openingThere is so much to do over Spring Break that blood donation often gets pushed to the side.  To encourage donation March 20-26, 2016 we have partnered with Kern Value Card on a our annual Spring Fling Blood Drive. Each day we will draw 10 winners of a free Kern Value Card Membership. All donors can also enter to win two special annual passes to Universal Studios Hollywood, home of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening April 7, 2016. This new attraction will transport visitors into a world of magical thrills and excitement where they can explore the mysteries of Hogwarts™ castle, visit the shops of Hogsmeade™, enjoy themed food and drink, plus experience pulse-pounding rides.

Kern Value Card LogoKVC members receive special admission pricing to many attractions besides Universal Studios, such as Six Flags® Magic Mountain, Legoland® California Resort and Knott’s Berry Farm. KVC members also receive hundreds and hundreds of discounts on dining, shopping and retail, services and entertainment. Click here for a full list of participating merchants. We appreciate the support of this fine business sponsor.

The need for blood never takes a vacation, so we hope to see you over Spring Break!

Here is a list of all our winners for 2016:

Monday’s Winners:

  1. Loralyn Gracey
  2. Robert Bewley
  3. Marc Cooper
  4. Christopher James Loubey
  5. Riley Spurling
  6. Marc Schulman
  7. Kelli Lewis
  8. Olivia De los Santos
  9. Daniel Gross
  10. Ronald Wayne

Tuesday’s Winners:

  1. Elissa Ladd
  2. Hector De Santiago
  3. Blanca Maidment
  4. Kevin Absher
  5. Dakotah Skinner
  6. Alex Cruz
  7. Kenneth Delfino
  8. Joshua Devore
  9. Omar Gadalla
  10. Taren Mulhause

Thursday’s Winners

  1. Thomas Colbert
  2. Karla Bejarano
  3. Brittney Owen
  4. Stella Rous
  5. Jaime Sosa
  6. Abraham Mitchell
  7. Terrance Yoder
  8. Austin Kimmel
  9. Ryan Nunneley
  10. Cesar Ollague

Friday’s Winners

  1. Daniel Tweedy
  2. Lindsy Hendrix
  3. Anna Gomez
  4. Robert Schellenberg
  5. Tammy Yarbrough
  6. Jennifer Pytlak
  7. Catherine Wolfe
  8. Kelly Aragon
  9. Jesus Medina
  10. Chandler Beck

Saturday’s Winners

  1. Matthew Robinson
  2. Ramon Macedo
  3. Adrienne Aguilar
  4. Cesar Chavez
  5. Mary Donev
  6. Katrina James
  7. Thomas Whitaker
  8. Dana Hicks
  9. Vicki Curtis
  10. Kenneth Russo

Universal WinnersCongratulations to Ariane Lane for winning the Spring Fling Blood Drive Grand Prize of 2 tickets to Universal Studios! Ariane is competing with her brother for the most donations and although he is ahead by one pint, she looks forward to the opportunity to bond with him while saving lives in the process.

Leap to Plasma This Year

Plasma Minions

Our Plasma Pep Squad: Sunny, Goldy and Filet Minion

It’s Leap Year, so why not Leap into Plasma? From Leap Day, Monday, February 29 to Thursday, March 31 new donors trying plasma donation for the first time using our automated donation system will receive a coupon for a FREE LARGE Rusty’s Pizza! The first 48 new donors will also get their choice of one of our Minion Mascots. Why Minions? Because they are yellow like plasma!

Harold Doing TrimaA plasma only donation takes just a little longer than a whole blood donation, but the automated state-of-the-art equipment required is available only at our two donor centers, not on the mobile buses.  A plasma only donation can help up to five patients in just one sitting! Since the only red cells removed are the ones needed for testing, and donors receive saline to replenish the volume lost, many donors say they prefer this procedure.  It is certainly the preferred donation for AB donors whose red cells are seldom requested by hospitals.  AB is the universally accepted plasma given along with AB platelets and O- blood as part of Mass Transfusion Protocols when bleeding has to be stopped so fast to preserve a life that there is no time to get the patient’s blood type established first.

plasmaPlasma makes up 55% of a person’s blood.  It is about 90% water with the remaining 10% made up of proteins, electrolytes, nutrients, hormones, wastes and gases. The proteins provide important clotting agents, crucial to stop bleeding. Plasma can be frozen for up to a year, then thawed for transfusion. As an added benefit, plasma not used for direct patient transfusion can be turned into lifesaving pharmaceutical products to combat a host of autoimmune disorders and diseases such as hemophilia.

Rusty's LogoWe appreciate Rusty’s Pizza Bakersfield for sponsoring free large pizza coupons for all donors who “go gold” during the Leap into Plasma promotion. With nine convenient locations, and one easy telephone order number, 661-835-5555, it’s easy order and enjoy your free pizza. Rusty’s truly supports blood donation in our community!