Blood Donors Fight Cancer

erase-cancerMore cancer treatments are becoming available locally, so it’s extremely important that the blood products necessary to support patients undergoing those treatments are readily available.  We hope everyone donating in October will take a minute to visit with our staff about automated donation on our Trima machines, and look into whether your platelet count and veins make you suitable for it.

Automated donation is the only way we can collect platelets for patient transfusion. Platelet use for patient care is up 3 fold for local cancer patients, so we look forward to discussing automated donation with you this month!

cancer-treatmentCancer patients need not only platelets, but red cells and plasma as well. According to an article in the January 2015 issue of Cancer Control entitled Transfusion Indications for Patients with Cancer, blood cancers like leukemia (hematological malignancies) use around 34% of the red blood cell supply, and anemia may occur in 90% of patients during chemotherapy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, low blood cell counts can lead to very serious complications during cancer treatments, which may delay ongoing treatments. The most-serious complications of low blood cell counts include infections, anemia, and bleeding. Red blood cells, plasma and platelets may be needed to help the cancer patient overcome these complications so that cancer fighting treatments can continue.

Cancer-related causes of low blood cell counts include:

  • Chemotherapy drugs can damage the bone marrow, the spongy material found in bones that makes blood cells.
  • Radiation therapy to large areas of the body and especially to the large bones that contain the most bone marrow, may cause low levels of red and white blood cells.
  • Cancers of the blood and bone marrow, such as leukemia, grow in the bone marrow and don’t allow normal blood cells to develop.
  • Cancers that spread, or metastasize, because cells have broken off a tumor can end up in the bone marrow and displace other cells there, making it difficult to produce blood cells.

We all know someone who has been through cancer and needed these treatments.  Let’s work together to ensure the platelets, plasma and red cells necessary for the fight against cancer are on the shelf to save lives.

BBSI Sponsors Treat

save-livesWe vampires are at it again:  “Ve Vant your blood” in October! Thanks to the Executives’ Association of Kern County (EAKC) there is a drawing for a $500 shopping spree at Home Depot courtesy of Barrett Business Services, Inc., or BBSI. It’s not at all scary to enter to win this great Home Depot gift card. Just donate blood, platelets, or plasma at either of our donor centers or most mobile drives anytime in October. Be sure to fill in an entry blank to get in on this treat drawing!

BBSI has served small and medium-sized businesses in the greater Bakersfield area since 2005, by providing payroll services, as well as human resources, workers compensation, safety and risk management consulting.  According to the company:

“We are providers of Business Management Solutions for small businesses. We deliver expertise, guidance and tactical support that allow owners to run their business more effectively. In order to do that, we operate under a unique business model; we combine the tools-based approach of human resource outsourcing with the knowledge-based approach of professional management consulting to create an integrated management platform. This platform helps our clients leverage their internal resources more effectively to operate with maximum efficiency.”

To learn more or speak with a BBSI professional call 661-377-1060 and ask for Jeff or Patrick.



Zika Testing to Begin


Beginning Thursday, September 15, 2016 we will begin testing all blood donations for the Zika Virus (ZIKV). The safety of our donors and the blood supply they generously provide is always our primary concern.

The ZIKV blood test will be performed along with the 13 other tests each donor’s blood sample undergoes every time they donate.  So, donors will not really notice any change as far as the donation itself goes. However, because this test on the blood sample is still in a clinical study stage, donors will receive an information sheet about the study, and now both 16 and 17 year old donors must bring in a signed parental consent form to be able to donate. This is required parental-consentbecause in California minors under 18 years old cannot consent to participate in clinical trials. Prior to September 15, 17 year olds were able to donate without a parent’s consent, but that is no longer the case. Minor donors will not be able to donate unless they present the proper form provided below. 

The required parental consent forms and educational materials are available here in English and in Spanish. Parents should read the material and send a signed copy in with minors presenting to donate.

Travel to ZIKV affected areas will no longer require a wait period once the testing begins.  Donors whose blood tests positive for ZIKV will be notified with follow-up instructions. If you have any questions regarding ZIKV blood testing, please call 661-323-4222.

En Español:

A partir del viernes 15 de Septiembre de, 2016 se comenzará a probar todas las donaciones de sangre para asegurarse que no provengan con el virus del Zika (ZIKV). La seguridad de nuestros donantes y el suministro de sangre que generosamente ofrecen es siempre nuestra preocupación principal.


El análisis de sangre ZIKV se llevará a cabo junto con las otras 13 pruebas que se le proporcionan a cada muestra de sangre cada vez que donan. Por lo tanto, los donantes realmente no notarán ningún cambio en cuanto a la donación. Sin embargo, debido a que este análisis todavía se encuentra en la fase de pruebas, los donantes recibirán una hoja de información sobre el ensayo clínico en curso en la prueba ZIKV.  Los donantes de 16 y  17 años de edad, ahora tendrán que llevar  un formulario de consentimiento firmado por los padres para poder ser elegibles para donar. Esto se debe al que todavía son menores de 18 años y entonces no pueden dar su propio consentimiento mediante un análisis de sangre que se encuentre en proceso de ensayo clínico. Los menores de edad no podrán donar al menos que presenten el formulario apropiado que se encuentra abajo.

Los nuevos formularios de consentimiento de los padres y los materiales educativos están disponibles aquí en Inglés y en Español.

Las restricciones de viaje asociadas con ZIKV ya no estarán en práctica una vez que comience la prueba. Si tiene alguna pregunta con respecto a las pruebas de sangre ZIKV, por favor llame al 661-323-4222.

9th Annual Fair Wristband Drive

wristbandThanks to our returning sponsor, Le Beau-Thelen LLP, the fair wristband blood drive is back. Giving Blood is the Fairest Thing to Do is the theme of the week, and from Monday, September 12th through Friday, September 16th at the donor centers only, donors can enter to win coupons which are good for a carnival ride wristband, as well as an adult pass to the 100th Anniversary Kern County Fair. The fair runs from September 21st – October 2nd, so be sure to schedule your appointment to give during this drive today! Free adult admission passes to the Fair will be available to all donors while supplies last.

Kern County Fair carnival wristbands are valued at $30 each if purchased at the fair, or $25 in advance. They are good for all rides, all day for any one day at the fair. They do not include admission or parking to the fair and there are height and other restrictions that can limit ride admission. Winners will be announced daily, with 10 winners every day. Winners are required to pick up their prize by September 21st or forfeit their prize.

Le BeLe Beau-Thelen LLP is recognized as one of the most successful civil practice firms in Central California. The firm has a reputation for providing creative and practical legal advice coupled with zealous advocacy. Le Beau Thelen jumped at the opportunity to sponsor such a popular blood drive among Houchin donors, and have shown support in our mission by hosting a number of successful blood drives at their firm. We extend a big thanks to Le Beau Thelen for their support of blood banking in our community by making this 6th annual event for donors possible.

Girls’ Story Inspires Blood and Platelet Drive

Amanda and AbigailShawna Callahan believes in supporting those fighting cancer, so No One Fights Alone, the organization she and husband Dwayne started after her uncle, Robert McCaslin, was diagnosed with cancer, will provide support to two two young ladies fighting brain tumors, Amanda Broome, on the left, and little Abigail Segundo.

Abigail’s story was recently featured in The Bakersfield Californian, and is available here.

To raise support funds for Abigail and Amanda, the 3rd Annual No One Fights Alone Poker Run will be held Sunday, November 6, 2016. A flyer about the Poker Run can be printed out here. The first Poker Run was organized by family and friends to provide support for Uncle Robert, and proved so successful, that it has been expanded, and offered help to other patients each year since.

Blood products save livesTo raise emotional support and encourage blood and platelet donations for survivors like Abigail and Amanda, a blood drive will be held on Saturday, September 24 from 8 am to 2 pm at the Truxtun Donor Center. In addition, an effort to increase platelet collection in honor of these crusaders will be held at both donor centers all week leading up to the blood drive, and through September 30th. Use the No One Fights Alone Account Code 929 to donate in honor of Abigail and Amanda.

It is crucial that more people become platelet donors to keep up with increased need for this blood product which is needed to aid patients in their fight against terrible diseases like cancer. The need for platelets locally has doubled this year, and many donors we have counted on can no longer give or have moved away.  It is not uncommon for 3 to 5 local hospitals or cancer centers to call for platelets at once. We appreciate the opportunity to draw attention to this growing problem, and hope it will bring in needed new donors. Those who join our Gold Club in September by providing a first time donation of platelets or plasma, will be entered to win a night on the town for two including movie tickets, dinner and dessert. It’s just an extra way to say thanks for giving trima, our automated donation system, a try this month. Cancer, trauma and other patients who receive your golden products will be truly grateful for the gift of life.

Recycle Life and Save Lives

Kern Schools LogoBlood products are the ultimate renewable resource, so Kern Schools Federal Credit Union is sponsoring a Recycle Life Blood Drive, kicking off on Saturday, September 24 with their annual Kern Schools Community Recycling Day from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm, at 15000 Bolthouse Drive, across from our Bolthouse Donor Center.  Blood will be collected that day at both donor centers from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. The Recycle Life Blood Drive will continue for a week at both donor centers, through Saturday, October 1st. Thanks to Kern Schools, donors during the drive can enter to win a Four Pack of One-Day Park Hopper tickets to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park good through December 31, 2016!

Recycle LifeVolunteer blood donors are stewards of the precious natural resources they possess: blood, platelets and plasma. Donating blood products can be a great opportunity to practice the three Rs: Reduce (the need for blood), Reuse (what you’ve got) and Recycle (what you can). Much like conventional recycling, it’s easy to do and can have far-reaching benefits. When it comes to recycling, donating blood is one of the best things you can do in one hour! We appreciate Kern Schools partnering with us on this blood drive in conjunction with their Community Recycling Day.

Disney Park Hopper Passes provide admission to both Disneyland and California Adventure in one day.  Kern Schools is your discounted amusement park headquarters, and you can find out about what tickets they offer here. Details on the annual Kern Schools Community Recycling Day and what will be accepted is found below.




Condors Suite Prize for September

Condors vs StocktonIt’s almost hockey season in CondorsTown, so the Executives’ Association of Kern County Monthly Prize for September is exclusive use of a suite for 12-18 people during the opening days of the new Condors season in October or November. The Bakersfield Condors will host the Stockton Heat on Dignity Health Home Ice at Rabobank Arena in preseason action on Saturday, October 8 at 7 p.m. The Condors home opener will be Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. The exact suite is subject to availability based on the game chosen, but there are a number of great suite options.

Condors LogoCondors hockey offers exciting American Hockey League action at every game. The Condors are the top development team of the Edmonton Oilers, with the very best prospects playing right here in Bakersfield. Stats from last season include:

  • Final record: 31-28-7-2, 5th place, Pacific Division
  • Condors to play in the NHL: 17
  • Number of 1st round draft picks to play in Bakersfield: 5
  • Largest crowd: 8,212 on Nov. 28

Condors CommunityThe Condors have established deep roots in the community. A Wounded Hero is honored at every home game, provide game experiences for at risk youth, and offer programs that reward good attendance and grades for students. The Condors have raised over $5 million in cash, goods and services over the team’s history. The organization is part of the fabric of our community, with mascots and players participating in events throughout the year.

Visit one of our donor centers or mobile drives in September to enter to enter to win your very own AHL hockey party, and cheer on the Bakersfield Condors as they continue to make their mark on the AHL. For an updated Condors game schedule click here.

Missing Type Campaign

Every second three people across the world receive a life changing blood transfusion. For this reason, Houchin Community Blood Bank is uniting with blood donor organizations across 21 countries for the Missing Type Campaign. The campaign will run from August 16-21, 2016. It highlights an almost 30% drop in people becoming blood donors compared to a decade ago worldwide. Reversing this trend is crucial to meeting daily patient needs.

Pint for a Pass Missing TypeThroughout the campaign, the letters of the main blood groups, As, Bs and Os, will disappear in everyday and iconic locations around the world.  Kern County businesses and personalities are welcome to join in all week by removing these letters from their brand or name and posting it online with #MissingType through Sunday, August 21, 2016.

2016KernCountyFairlogoThe Kern County Fair is celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2016 by kicking off the annual Pint for a Pass Blood Drive this week, and is providing a free admission pass to each donor. Donors at both Bakersfield donor centers and at the following mobile drives will receive the fair admission pass and have the opportunity to take a photo of themselves for posting on social media with a #MissingType sign to show solidarity with this international campaign.

  • Tuesday, August 16           Tehachapi Community                    12 noon – 6:00 pm        Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 329 South Mill Street, Tehachapi
  • Wednesday, August 17      Ridgecrest Community                   12 noon – 6:00 pm        Kerr McGee Center, 100 W. California, Ridgecrest
  • Thursday, August 18           Delano Regional Medical              11:15 am – 4:00 pm     1401 Garces Highway, Delano
  • Friday, August 19                Home Depot – Gosford                    9:00 am – 1:00 pm  4700 Gosford Road, Bakersfield
  • Saturday, August 20           Milan Institute                                  10:00 am – 2:00 pm  2822 F Street, Bakersfield
  • Sunday, August 21             St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church     8:30 am – 12 noon 12300 Reina Road, Bakersfield

Hours at the Bakersfield Donor Centers are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9 am to 6 pm, Thursday 11 am to 7 pm, and Saturday 8 am to 2 pm. The Truxtun Donor Center is located at 5901 Truxtun Avenue, and the Bolthouse Donor Center is at 11515 Bolthouse Drive.

Missing type 3In Kern County there is a particular ongoing need for O+ and O- blood donors, and donors of any blood type for platelet donations.  Donors who do not know their blood type are always welcome. New donors will receive a donor card with their blood type and additional information about what patients most need from them after their first donation.

The Missing Type Campaign, was first held in England and North Wales by NHS Blood and Transplant last year, but has expanded for 2016 to bring together 25 blood services from 21 countries covering one billion of the world’s population. Each blood service is calling for new donors to ensure blood donation for present and future generations.

According to recent research by blood collection services worldwide, key barriers to people becoming donors include:

  • increasing urbanization
  • wider and more exotic travel
  • people have less time to give in an increasingly busy and digital world
  • lack of awareness about the need for more diverse blood donors
  • a rise in the popularity of tattoos

GapsAccording to Carola Enriquez, Director of Community Development at Houchin Community Blood Bank: “We really hope that people living in Kern County will be inspired by the international Missing Type Campaign to start saving lives by becoming blood donors. Blood transfusions save lives and transform health for millions across the world, and right here at home. Patients are dependent on people donating blood, platelets and plasma every day. Whether it is platelets for chemotherapy patients, red cells for blood disorders or burns, plasma to stop bleeding, or a combination of all three to stop bleeding in traumas, blood products are an absolutely essential part of modern healthcare.”

To donate blood you must be 17 years of age, in good health, and weigh 110 pounds. 16 year olds can donate with parental consent.

To learn more about the blood donation process, visit this page or call 661-323-4222. The public can also support the Missing Type Campaign on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #MissingType. For more information call 661-616-2500.

Erskine Fire Thanks

We received the lovely thank you note below from the First Baptist Church of Lake Isabella for the goods we collected and sent their way in the aftermath of the Erskine Fire. Diapers, hygiene items, snacks, camping equipment, clothes, shoes, pet food, books and games were just some of the goods collected and delivered to the church which was on the front line serving evacuees.  We had to cancel our June 28th drive there because all church spaces were completely full of well-organized supplies to serve resident needs.

We look forward to being back for the Lake Isabella Community Blood Drive on August 23rd from 12 noon to 6:00 pm. Thank you to all who donated goods for the fire survivors!



Margaret Delfino Passes Away at 97

Margaret 25 gallons

Margaret was a media sensation when she was the first local woman to donate 25 gallons of blood on June 25, 2009.

Long time blood donor Margaret Delfino passed away recently at 97 years of age after never completely recovering from open heart surgery.

According to her obituary: “Margaret had a passion for donating blood at Houchin Community Blood Bank. She was once featured on CNN when at 90 years old she donated her 200th pint. . . She held the record for most blood donated by a woman in Kern County for many years. As proud as she was of her record she was even prouder at the number of family members and others she coerced into becoming regular donors.”

delfino-gives again

Margaret is welcomed back by CEO Greg Gallion after she beat cancer and was able to donate blood again on December 18, 2006.

The petite donor, who stood just 4 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed in at 115 pounds, was the first blood donor at the new Bolthouse Donor Center when she was 94. This also marked her last pint donated for a total of 218 donations, for more than 27 gallons in her lifetime.

Margaret celebrated many a landmark donation at Houchin. She was able to give blood again in 2006 following a five-year absence after undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer, and it was a press event when she reached the 25 gallon mark at the age of 90. “It’s a testament to her commitment to this community,” CEO Greg Gallion said at the time. “It’s a testament to a remarkable woman.”

Greg Margaret and Carlena

CEO Greg Gallion and Registered Nurse Carlena Russom congratulate Margaret Delfino for being the first donor in the new Bolthouse Donor Center on February 11, 2013.

According to Registered Nurse Carlena Russom, who was on hand to take Delfino’s blood on various big occasions: “Just (her) commitment, the life-long dedication to me it’s just, it’s hard to find these days. She’s just an inspiration.” Margaret began donating prior to 1954.

In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate blood donations made to Houchin Blood Bank in her memory using Fund Number 771.

All photos from TBC Media.