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!

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 (KSFCU). KSFCU 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, KSFCU is providing us with an iPad Air for a donor drawing on Saturday, September 13, 2014 in honor of their grand opening.  Donors at either donor center can enter to win. To celebrate the opening of the new building, the credit union will be hosting their 5th annual Community Recycling Day from 9 am to 1 pm at the new location, 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.

photo 2 (61)KSFCU 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, KSFCU had 141 members and assets of $1,336.84. Fast forward to 2014, and KSFCU 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 KSFCU’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 Martinez “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.

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. 


Groups Give a Gallon

The staff at the Wind Wolves Preserve came up with a GREAT idea: bring 8 people in to donate blood to see if they could reach a one gallon donation as a team in one visit to the blood bank.  We loved the idea, and so have others.  Country Rose Staffing, Target on Rosedale?, and Chive on Kern are all giving it a try.

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

ashley homestore-logo

Ashley Furniture HomeStore Day, August 30

Ashley Furniture HomeStore will be hosting 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 Memory Foam pillow and 25% off coupon. Donors donating at the mobile blood drive will be entered into an hourly gift card drawing.

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 communitydevelopment@hcbb.com or 661-616-2500.

Special Blood Drive Days

Three local businesses are hosting mobile and/or donor center drives during August as follows.  If you would like more information on having your business host an activity with us please contact communitydevelopment@hcbb.com.

PF Changs P.F. Chang’s Day, August 8, 2014

P.F. Chang’s Restaurant will be hosting a mobile drive on Friday, August 8th at its Bakersfield location, 10700 Stockdale Highway from 4 to 7 pm. Donors will receive a free appetizer coupon and a t-shirt, and they will be entered to win an hourly gift card drawing. The free appetizer coupon will also be available at both donor centers.

BJs LogoBJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse Day, August 9

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse will be hosting a mobile drive on Saturday, August 9th at its Bakersfield location,10750 Stockdale Highway, from noon to 4:00 pm.  Donors at that mobile, or at either donor center all day, will receive a coupon for BJ’s Famous Pizookie dessert and a BJ’s Handcrafted Draft Root Beer coupon!


 ashley homestore-logoAshley Furniture HomeStore Day, August 30

Ashley Furniture HomeStore will be hosting 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 Memory Foam pillow and 25% off coupon. Donors donating at the mobile blood drive will be entered into an hourly gift card drawing.

We thank these businesses for their support of blood donation in our community.

Milestones Reached for our Community

Gary K and GalsHistory was made on July 3, 2014 when long time friend and donor Gary Ketchel became the first person to donate 900 platelets. Gary is an extremely dedicated donor, and even brings treats for the staff when he makes a milestone. He also contributes pistachios to the Platelet Dinner every year as a treat for other platelet donors. It’s always a treat just to see Gary’s smiling face. Congratulations on your exemplary service to our community Gary! More photos of the fun we had with Gary are available on our Facebook page here.

Emery BarnesAlso on July 3, 2014 we had a new donor take the lead with the most blood donations. We all owe long time donor Emery Barnes a standing ovation for his lifetime of service. He has donated 264 pints which is equal to 33 gallons! He is now our top donor for the most blood donated by an individual, but doesn’t want any acclaim or fuss.  We insisted he pose for a photograph however and say thanks for the thousands of lives he has improved and saved over the years!

Both men are truly heroes!

Pint for a Pass Returns

PrintThe Kern County Fair will partner with Houchin Community Blood Bank on a third annual Pint for a Pass Blood Drive, from August 18 to September 14, 2014. Four thousand FREE adult admission passes to the Best in the West Kern County Fair will be distributed to blood donors at the donor centers and on mobile drives.  The passes were wildly successful with donors the last two years, increasing blood supplies at a time when inventories are traditionally low.  One lucky winner during the drive will win our grand prize give away of an adult pass four pack plus four wristbands to the fair. Call 661-616-2505 or click here for an appointment to donate during the drive.

SONY DSCThe 2014 fair runs from September 17 to 28, and as always, it will feature outstanding entertainment, fabulous food, thrilling rides, fascinating exhibits, and fun for the entire family.

“This partnership is a natural because of the rich history and deep roots of both organizations in Kern County”, said Greg Gallion, President and CEO of the blood bank. “Both of us are dedicated to serving the needs of Kern County citizens”, he added. According to Mike Olcott, CEO of the Kern County Fair: “It is great to partner with the blood bank to help them fill their need, and to give people in our community an opportunity to come to the Kern County Fair.  Working with the community is important to us.”

GregOur own President and CEO, Greg Gallion is being recognized as Fair Person of the Year.

“Everyone loves the great Kern County Fair, so we are thrilled to be able to offer our donors a free pass again this year. The passes really helped us motivate new and repeat donors the past two years at a time when back to school activities are pulling donors in other directions. We are sure this year’s Pint for a Pass Blood Drive will be just as successful”, says Carola Enriquez, Director of Community Development at Houchin.

Out for Blood During Shark Week

shark swimmingSharks are out for blood, and so are we from August 10-16, 2014 during the Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week.  During Shark Week, all donors will receive a free admission pass to the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History in Bakersfield, home to outstanding exhibits about our own Sharktooth Hill Bone Bed. The museum was featured during Shark Week programming on “Sharkzilla” in 2012 and 2013.  The museum will provide a $150 value gift basket for one lucky donor featuring an annual family membership, cast of a megalodon shark tooth, and real fossilized shark teeth.   

Shark and GirlDonors can also enter to win four tickets to San Diego’s Sea World, home of the Shark Encounter exhibitcompliments of Burger King. Shark Week has been the “King of Summer Since ’87″, so we hope this blood drive will help us “reel in” new and repeat donors so we can avoid the very scary sight of empty shelves.

Although sharks can smell one drop of blood in a million drops of water, it’s sometimes difficult for blood banks to circle their prey during the summer months. So dive in to one of our donor centers or mobile blood drives. Walk-ins are always welcome, but for a much appreciated appointment, please click here.

BVMuseum BannerThe Shark Week Blood Drive will kick off with a shark inspired social at the Bolthouse Donor Center from 4-7 pm on Monday, August 11 featuring shark fossils from the Buena Vista Museum and themed food.

The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History organizes tours to the world famous Sharktooth Hill Bonebed just east of Bakersfield, and exhibits fascinating exhibits on our fossil heritage and many other aspects of our natural world. Children and adults will enjoy the extensive collection of wild animal mounts and Native American exhibits.  Children of all ages will love the Discovery Zone featuring hands on science. Be sure to check out this local treasure with your donor pass. It is conveniently located on Chester Avenue in downtown Bakersfield just south of 21st Street.