Kern County BOO-seum Ticket Drawings For Donors

Two fabulous October traditions take place at the Kern County Museum, and both have provided us with daily ticket drawings for blood donors. What great treats, and the only trick is to donate during the offer periods as detailed below! Every donor gets a free individual Rusty’s Pizza coupon too.

Talladega FrightsDonors between October 13-17 can enter to win a daily drawing for two tickets to Talladega Frights, the ever-evolving scarefest which has grown year after year into a don’t miss attraction.  This is truly the Central Valley’s biggest and best haunted attraction. This year’s features are: Hillbilly Hell, Detention – Green River High School, and Wicked Dark.  There is also a DJ Dance Party on Friday and Saturday nights. There will also be a grand prize of two tickets including fast passes and 2 t-shirts, PLUS some gift cards to round out a complete evening of food, fun and spooky entertainment.

safe+halloweenFrom October 20-29, donors can enter to win a daily family 4 pack of tickets to Safe Halloween, a less scary event geared to families with children 3-12.  There will be more than 40 trick or treat stations, costume contests, and activities throughout the museum’s historic settings.  Businesses, clubs and organizations all band together to create this safe alternative for families that has become a community tradition for generations. We will draw one lucky winner of a grand prize package for 4, which includes not only tickets but everything else needed to round out the Safe Halloween evening of choice, either October 30 or 31. For more information contact us at or 661-616-2505.

High School Challenge Underway

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The annual High School Blood Drive Challenge is well underway for the 2014-15 school year.  Because we can never reach all the students who want to donate at high school drives, we are encouraging students to give at our two donor centers as well. Donating blood is a great way to earn community service hours and by donating at the donor centers, students can become Gallon Grads that much faster!  We had significant growth in donors crediting high schools over the summer, a time when we always fight lower donation levels. Click here for the chart of the current standings in the challenge.

All pints donated at the donor centers, or any mobile drives, count towards the annual challenge so long as the donor credits a participating high school. The count is not limited to students and staff either.  Family members and alumni are welcome to credit their high school of choice too!

As always, the winning schools will be recognized at a wonderful luncheon in May 2015. Thanks to Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, we will have additional recognition for the large and small high schools receiving the most donations at the donor centers. Trust us, this new prize is really worth going for, so we hope all the schools will “up their game” to try to win that piece of the challenge!


BC Wins National Honor Again

cesar chavez blood driveBakersfield College hosted a third annual two-day mobile blood drive on March 12 and 13, 2014, and came in 13th among 225 participating colleges in the 2014 National Cesar E. Chavez Blood Drive Challenge. Bakersfield College has won before, coming in 10th in 2013, 5th in 2012 and 6th in 2010.

This year’s drive collected 40 additional pints of blood for a total of 293 pints.  In all, 394 donors registered, 204 of them new.  Last year 253 pints were collected from 344 registered donors, and 167 donors were new.

We will present an award plaque to the college later this year and post a photo of the exchange on our Facebook page.

The Day We Never Forget – 9/11/2001

9 11 memorialThe 9/11 attacks are never far removed from the thoughts of anyone who remembers that tragic day when terrorists took down planes into three buildings and a field, killing almost 3,000 people on United States soil. Due to the overwhelming loss of life, less than 260 units of blood was needed by survivors.  Yet, according to the General Accounting Office, nearly 600,000 pints of blood above normal collection came in nationwide through September and October.  Most of it expired before it could ever be used.  Blood banks nationwide are nonprofit organizations which can’t afford such waste, and blood donors want to know that what they so generously contribute for the common good is going to make it to a patient. So, we remember the tragic loss of life and the selflessness of blood donors who lined up and waited to donate blood in an effort to help.  We also remember 9/11 as the day blood banking changed.

Fast forward to the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013.  Although many people immediately appeared to donate blood in an effort to help the approximately 170 runners and spectators who were injured, the overall message from blood banks nationwide was “wait”. There was sufficient blood on hand to meet patient needs right then and people interested in donating should make appointments in the coming weeks and months.  As a result, there was no “run on the blood banks” in the aftermath, and the extra 450 units of blood that went to Boston area hospitals was readily available. At the time, James Hooley, chief of Boston Emergency Medical Services said, “Anybody who arrived alive in a Boston hospital is alive today.”

shelvesToday blood bankers talk about the blood on the shelves saving lives.  We don’t spread fear of an emergency. We just say we must be ready for one in advance so that all the testing is complete and each product is ready to help someone in need. We try to be “upfront” about exactly what we need to meet changing patient needs, and not collect above that.  If you come in to donate as a remembrance on 9/11 in 2014, know that we do need A-, A+, O-, O+ blood in sizable amounts, a little B- and B+, and are well stocked with AB-, and AB+.  Because we don’t want AB red cells to expire before it gets to a patient who needs it, AB donors will be encouraged to give platelets or plasma instead.  Although we usually have enough AB red cells, we always need AB platelets and plasma which are “universally accepted” by anyone.

We update our need for blood, platelets and plasma on social media almost daily, so follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or wait for a call, postcard or e-mail.  We do try to contact the blood types we need. Please keep us updated as your contact information changes and you’ll always know when we truly need you. Thanks for keeping the blood on the shelves, in advance, to save lives.

Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Sickle Cell WalkBlood banks nationwide are encouraging eligible donors to help insure a stable and diverse blood supply by giving blood in honor of National Sickle Cell Awareness Month this September. We are partnering with the Hina Patel Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease to encourage people to come in and donate blood at our Bolthouse Donor Center, 11515 Bolthouse Drive, on Saturday, September 13, 2014 during the 6th Annual Sickle Cell 5K/10K Walk/Run at Riverwalk Park. Hina Patel was a young local woman who lost her battle with sickle cell disease.  Her parents started the foundation in her name to educated the public about this disease which has no cure and often requires blood transfusions to keep the patient alive. Blood donors at either donor center will be entered to win a $100 fuel card from JOSCO Construction Inc/Vacusweep, and an iPad Air from Kern Schools Federal Credit Union.

Normal vs Sickled Cells

Sickle cell disease is inherited. It causes red blood cells to form an abnormal crescent shape. It is estimated that sickle cell disease affects as many as 100,000 people in the U.S. Many of these patients face a lifetime of blood transfusions to help reduce the risk of stroke, damage to major organs and other complications that can arise as a result of sickle cell disease.

Since blood from donors of the same ethnic background as the recipient is less likely to cause complications, we must maintain a diverse blood supply. This is particularly important for patients such as those with sickle cell disease who may require regular blood transfusions. We are pleased to have this opportunity again this year to draw attention to the necessity of a diverse blood supply for the patients we serve.

Fair Wristband Drive Returns

wristbandThanks to  Mish Funeral Home – Oildale, we are able to offer our donors the chance to win one of 18 carnival ride wristband coupons for the 5th straight year.  This year the drawings will be held from Monday, September 15 to Wednesday, September 17, 2014. The winners receive “advance sale coupons” which are good for a carnival ride wristband once inside the great Kern County Fair The Fair is scheduled from September 17-28, 2014, and this great drawing is always a hit with donors, so schedule your appointment today!

Kern County Fair carnival ride wristbands are valued at $30 each at the fair or $25 in advance.  They are good for all rides, all day, unlimited on any one day of the Fair. They do not include admission or parking at the Fair, and there are height and other restrictions on those who can ride. Winners will be announced daily so wristband coupons can be picked up in plenty of time to enjoy the rides at the Fair!

Mish DignityMish Funeral Home – Oildale is an award-winning firm offering families a comforting environment with a hospitality room, children’s play room, spacious chapel, exceptional service and a highly professional staff with Spanish-speaking capabilities. They provide the convenience of an on-site crematory, and are proud to be a member of the Dignity Memorial® network of funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers. 

We thank Mish Funeral Home – Oildale for their support of blood banking in our community by making this 5th annual event for our donors possible!

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New Neighbor for Bolthouse

New NeighborThe Bolthouse Donor Center has a new neighbor in the Seven Oaks Business Park, the administrative offices of Kern Schools Federal Credit Union. Kern Schools employees have already come across the street to donate at lunch, and we look forward to a long and rewarding relationship.

Instead of a cup of sugar, Kern Schools is providing us with an iPad Air for a donor drawing on Saturday, September 13, 2014 in correspondence with their fifth annual Community Recycling Day to be held from 9 am to 1 pm at the new Kern Schools administration building, 11500 Bolthouse Drive. There will be prize drawings, food for purchase, and family fun for everyone during the event.  A complete list of what can be recycled is available here. We will be part of the fun at the fair, so stop by to see us. Donors at either donor center can enter to win the iPad Air.

“As two local organizations, and new neighbors, we are excited to join forces with Houchin Community Blood Bank to provide more services to better the lives of Kern County residents,” said Michael George, Senior Vice President of Operations and Marketing for Kern Schools.

photo 2 (61)Kern Schools is a full-service financial institution founded in 1938 by a small group of teachers who met to organize a financial cooperative for Kern County public school teachers. The first “office” was a tiny room in the library of Bakersfield High School, with a staff of one unpaid volunteer. At the end of the first year of operations, Kern Schools had 141 members and assets of $1,336.84. Fast forward to 2014, and it is the largest member-owned financial institution in Kern County with over 160,000 Members and more than $1.2 billion in assets. The staff Kern Schools Logohas grown too, to over four hundred team members, dedicated to providing the best member service possible. The institution is proud to be recognized as the “Best Financial Institution” in 2014 in The Bakersfield Californian Reader’s Choice Poll, and anyone in Kern County is welcome to become a member, and experience the “exceptional service and quality financial products” offered.

We appreciate Kern School’s generous sponsorship of a grand opening prize to encourage blood donation on their big day in the new neighborhood.

Kern Schools Banner


Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

rhabdo Ben

Diane “had NO idea, until her son Ben was diagnosed with cancer last year, that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. We want to help others, and raising awareness will do that,” she says.

Childhood CancerTo make more people aware of childhood cancer, Diane is organizing a Facing Ben’s Giant Celebration and Childhood Cancer Awareness Event on September 1, 2014 at Mondavi Park, 601 Mondavi Way in Bakersfield, from 11 am to 3 pm. The event will feature free food, bounce houses, face painting, balloon animals, characters like Snow White and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, music, games, and a Gold Balloon Release sponsored by Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center. Gold is the awareness color for childhood cancer. This is a great way to spend a part of Labor Day and everyone is invited to participate. Stop by to say hello at our booth.  We’ll have special activities for the kids and gold ribbon give-a-ways to encourage blood donation during the month.

GIANTSLAYERBen and his family began their fight against his cancer “giant” at the beginning of June last year, when Ben noticed a little pea sized bump on top of his left foot by his big toe.  He thought he’d been bitten by a spider. Diane continues: “We’ll fast forward to the day he went in for surgery to drain what the doctor thought was a hematoma.  At the time of the surgery on August 28th, it had increased to the size of an egg.  After surgery, it grew even bigger.  On September 3, 2013, Ben was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer called Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma.  He immediately started on intense chemotherapy and had six weeks of high dose radiation on his left foot, and on his left groin where they had found rogue cancer cells.  His last dose of chemotherapy was on June 30, 2014.  And we got clear scans in July.  Although he’ll have to have scans every three months, we are believing good things.”

Diane continues, “Now, it’s our mission to raise public awareness about childhood cancer.  Less than 4% of funding goes to children’s cancer research, which is why our kids receive antiquated drugs, and is a big reason why many children relapse within the first five years.  If they live past that five years cancer free, they are at a higher risk to get Kids get cancer toodiagnosed with a secondary cancer due to the treatments.  So the question I ask is, How do we know how to fix a problem, if we don’t know one exists?  Now we do know, and so we want to change the way our kids receive treatment.”

Although Ben did not receive blood products as part of his treatments, Diane saw many children in need of them during their hospital stays and doctor visits. That is why Diane wants to refer people to us so that they can donate blood in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!  Look for our blood donation information and goodie bags for participants at the event, and if you donate in September remember the life you help save might be that of a childhood cancer patient. 


Meet our 2014 Conversion Queens


Our Trima operators and nurses would love to talk to you about conversion to automated donation during your next visit, or give us a call at 661-323-4222 to find out more.

The winners of our third annual Burger King & Queen Conversion Challenge in the Donor Services department were announced on August 14, 2014. The challenge is for Donor Services staff to educate donors on our automated donation program, which uses specialized Trima machines to procure platelets and other blood products, and then “convert” the donors over to give automated donation a try that day or during a future appointment.  This effort has been increasingly successful each year without exception.

During the challenge, we had 74 attempted conversions resulting in 27 appointments.  In addition to these appointments, there were 11 instant “day of conversions” that resulted in 21 products!  Last year there were 3 instant conversions resulting in 8 products, which shows that our increased focus on maximizing the donation potential of each donor in the past year has helped make our instant conversions so successful! Instant conversions are needed to meet daily platelet goals and get products from each donor by blood type that patients truly need.

Conversion Queens 2014

Nannette Gonzales, Alma Cueto, and Sydney Leach receive their awards from Kim Monzon of Burger King.

Our 1st, 2nd & 3rd place winners were responsible for ALL of the instant conversions and placed as follows:

  • 1st place, winning 2 passes to Universal Studios – Nannette Gonzales
  • 2nd place, winning a $40 Burger King gift card – Alma Cueto
  • 3rd place, winning a $25 Burger King gift card – Sydney Leach

The Conversion Challenge is the brainchild of Albert Gonzales, Burger King franchisee of multiple restaurants in Kern County. As a Trima donor himself, Albert knows how much we need platelets in particular, and offered to reward staff for their conversions if we would design the challenge.  Although Albert could not make it to the winner announcement this year, he sent Kim Monzon, district manager, in his place. Kim shared words of praise and encouragement from Albert and was equally excited herself to recognize our staff and be part of the presentation festivities.

We thank Burger King, and particularly Albert and Kim, for supporting this successful program, and congratulate our worthy winners!!

Special Blood Drive Day

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Ashley Furniture HomeStore will host a mobile blood drive on Saturday, August 30th at its Bakersfield location, 8915 Rosedale Highway, from 10 am- 2 pm. Donors there, or at either donor center all day, will receive a free Ashley Sleep Contour Pillow and 25% off coupon for merchandise at the Ashley Furniture Homestore while supplies last. Donors at the mobile blood drive will be entered into an hourly gift card drawing as well. Donors at all sites will also receive a Buy-one-get-one Breakfast Toaster from Sonic.  There’s a convenient Sonic right next to our mobile drive at the Ashley Furniture HomeStore.

Ashley PillowThis is our second drive with Ashley Furniture HomeStore.  The first was a huge hit with donors last summer, because they loved the free Ashley Sleep Contour Pillow with it’s compact, eco-friendly, design and handy travel case.  Just roll it up for trips to avoid that nasty stiff neck from hotel pillows. Now here is a second chance to own one free with your gift of life.

We thank businesses like Ashley Furniture HomeStore for their support of blood donation in our community. For more information on how your business can get involved contact the Community Development Department at or 661-616-2500.