We need to have enough blood components on hand for patients 365 days a year, so before you take time off in the summer, pledge to Give Twice This Summer. Vacations, outdoor activities, and other summertime distractions contribute to a nationwide decrease in blood donations in summer. The goal of Twice as Nice Pledge 2 Give is to keep our blood supply steady to meet patient needs throughout the summer season with a steady stream of donations. Donors who keep their two donation pledge will be a part of a very special summer giveaways. Fill out the pledge form below, then make sure you donate between now and July 20. Then give blood again (56 days later) between July 21-September 15 to qualify.
From Saturday, May 18 through Saturday, May 25, 2013 donors will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite branch of the Armed Services during this annual week-long celebration of our military. One lucky donor will win a fabulous trip for two to New Orleans to see the new World War II Museum and US Freedom Pavilion. The trip is sponsored by Setton Farms. Setton Farms is the local producer of “America’s Best Tasting Pistachios”.
Every year we join the American Nurses Association in commemorating National Nurses Week from May 6 through May 12. The celebration ends on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.The purpose of the celebration is to raise awareness about the value of nursing, and educate the public about the role nurses play in meeting the health care needs of all.
This year’s theme is Delivering Quality and Innovation in Patient Care. While the theme might not sound like it relates to our nurses, it does, because without nurses present we cannot draw blood products for human transfusion in the State of California. Red cells, platelets and plasma obtained from volunteer donors must be overseen by a registered nurse, so nurses are crucial to our ability to support patient needs.
Nurse Bronny has been with Houchin Community Blood Bank for 19 years. She says: “It’s the best nursing job there is. It is a great feeling knowing we are doing something so critical to support people’s health.”
We are honored to celebrate the 3.1 million registered nurses in our nation this week, especially the 9 nurses working with us. We rely on their high quality work counseling with donors, their leadership and training of staff, and that special care they show our donors and the blood collections process on every mobile drive and at both donor centers.Thank you to Carlena, Jeri, Shelly, Mandy, Cindy, Carla, Bronny, Katie and Valerie for their service!
Mothers are the glue that holds a family together. Mothers are celebrated in the month of May, it is a fitting time to recognize Trish Devlin who is almost at her 13th gallon. More importantly, the only time she donates blood is with her family. Trish is not only a mother and a wife that is dedicated to taking care of her family, she also cares for others through her donations.
Trish began donating because she woke up to a radio plea from us on the day of her daughter Mary’s 4th birthday party. She did not have a reason to donate but felt, “I have always been healthy and I wanted to share my gift of good health to people who need it.” For her first donation, she took her two daughters, Christina and Mary, to the Truxtun Donor Center. From then on, every time Trish donated she would take them along. “Christina and Mary grew up going to the blood bank and every time we were there, the Houchin staff pampered my girls” said Trish.
At first, her husband John did not donate, because he did not like needles. But as time passed a phlebotomist told him, “if you did like needles, we wouldn’t like your blood.” At that point, and his wife’s dedication, John started donating and now he has 5 gallons to his credit. Since Christina and Mary saw their mom donating, it inspired them to become lifesavers too. They started donating as soon as they could, and now each has donated a gallon. As a family, the Devlins make it a routine to donate together because it’s a special moment they share.
Besides being a dedicated donor, Trish enjoys word puzzle games and spending time with her family. Every weekend they have game nights and a BBQ. Trish encourages others to donate, “you can’t manufacture blood and, if you’re in good health, then why not donate?”
Kylee Cross is only 12 years old and needs to do two autologous donations before her scoliosis surgery in mid-May. This means she has to donate two pints of her own blood to use during her surgery in case it is needed. To support her during these donations, family and friends are encouraging others to give with Kylee during two Thursday evening socials at our Truxtun Donor Center on April 18 and May 2 from 5 pm – 7 pm each night. Donors can also donate anytime in between and credit Fund 791 so we can tell Scoliosis Strong for Kylee knows how many donors participated.
Before Kylee’s diagnosis she was very active, would swim 20 hours a week and play softball. But one day, when she was out shopping with her mom, she realized she had terrible posture and could not stand up straight. On New Year’s Eve, she found out she had scoliosis. A further MRI discovered Kylee had an unstable neck as well. Her planned surgery will repair these issues. Kylee has had to modify her whole world and learn how to cope with these severe skeletal problems at a difficult time for any young person – adolescence.
Kylee and her family are starting a nonprofit called Scoliosis Strong to help raise awareness about scoliosis and the girls it affects. “The reason I want to have this blood drive, and start a nonprofit organization, is to raise awareness for scoliosis and to comfort girls that have been ripped from their social lives and placed into hibernation, with no one to talk to that’s your age or understand what you are going through”, said Kylee. Scoliosis Strong plans to send care packages to girls suffering from scoliosis, and provide a support group for those coping with scoliosis and facing surgery. To participate, call us at 661-616-2505 or make an appointment online.
April is National Volunteer Month, a great time to honor all of our volunteers for making time to donate. One volunteer in particular does not rely on our appointment reminders. Glenn Nakashima commits himself to show up every 56 days no matter what, and will soon receive his 23 gallon license plate.
Glen started donating because his father needed blood. He was working for the Kern County Fire Department and he asked his Captain where he could donate. This personal need led him to donate to the Kern County Fire Department group code at Houchin Community Blood Bank. From then on he continued to donate because he sees the difference donors make in someone’s life. “Houchin helped my dad, so why not help others?”
When he received his first license plate, Glenn felt very proud and attached it to his car right away. He believes each license plate represents a milestone achieved and the amount of lives you have saved. He also enjoys seeing our television commercials because, “you get to see the people you have saved, and hearing their stories make you feel good about yourself,” he added.
In his spare time, Glenn enjoys spending time with his six grandchildren, and is a member of the Chevrolet Limited of Bakersfield car club. He owns 1955 and 1956 Chevys. Glen deserves to be recognized as an exemplary community volunteer, not just for Houchin. He volunteers as a track official for Bakersfield College and local high schools, and on May 31, 2013 he will volunteer as a guardian in Honor Flight, an organization that sends veterans to Washington D.C. He encourages other community members to donate because “it’s easy, painless, and you meet wonderful people at Houchin Community Blood Bank.”
On Monday, March 18, the Kern Astronomical Society will be hosting a blood drive and viewing of the night sky from 5-8 pm at the new Bolthouse Donor Center. The public is invited to donate blood from 5-7 pm, enjoy “out of this world” treats, then view the heavens through KAS member telescopes.
We hope anyone interested in astronomy will turn out to see the sun, the first quarter moon, and Jupiter. Numerous comets can be seen in March, including Comet Pan-STARRS (C/2011 L4). This comet is one of many comets and asteroids tracked by Pan-STARRS, the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System. Pan-STARRS is designed to discover and characterize Earth-approaching objects which might pose a danger to our planet. Special treats will include Comet Cupcakes, Moon Pies and Planet Pizzas. These will be available to donors while supplies last.
There will also be special donor drawings for some excellent prizes. These include a 4.5 Dobsonian telescope donated and made by Steve Collett of KAS, four VIP tickets to the Tonight Show, a Planet Cookie Basket, various Curl Talk packages, Slumped Bottle Cheese and Cracker Bowl, vouchers for two free pizzas from Round Table Pizza, and an incredible Solar System Cake made to the winner’s order provided by Ron Church. To sign-up for this truly memorable evening contact Carol Powers at 661-393-6379 or Darren Bly at 661-832-0712.
With the price of gas almost $5 a gallon, why not stay home and have your “Spring Fling” right here in Kern County! Beginning Monday, March 25 through Saturday, March 30 over Spring Break, donors will have a chance to win one of four exciting staycation prize packages showcasing the world class entertainment, romantic escapes, awesome adventures, and family fun available right here in Kern County thanks to generous support from the Kern County community. Donors will have their choice of one of the following packages: Adventure, Family, Romance and Tehachapi. Throughout the week, each donor will receive a “ballot” to mark the staycation package they most want to win. The drawing will be held at the end of the week.
Here is a rundown of the exciting packages:
Adventure: Two Blaster Passes from River’s End Rafting and Adventure Company to raft the Kern, Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and Science passes, dinner at Woolgrowers, a stay at Lakeshore Lodge, and six vouchers to Jam Raceway.
Tehachapi: Wine from Triassic Vineyard, a $50 gift certificate to Don Juan’s Restaurant, a one night stay at Stallion Springs Resort, a gift valued at $50 from Field of Dreams Alpaca Farm, and a gift basket and tour for four to the Indian Point Ostrich Ranch.
Family: Six movie passes, 4 tickets to the Melodrama, four ice cream treats at Dewar’s Ice Cream & Fine Candy Shop, 6 passes to the San Joaquin Community Hospital Ice Center, six tickets to Camelot Park, and vouchers for two large pizzas at Rusty’s Pizza.
The staycation packages in Kern County were a big hit over Spring Break in 2011, so we hope our donors enjoy the chance to win one again this year at either fixed site. We appreciate all the Kern County businesses and nonprofits that make the packages possible!
Tori Hernandez is not your average 18 year old. Tori began donating at the age of 17 to carry on the legacy of her great grandpa Anvil Petty. When we had an abundant supply of her blood type, instead of waiting for us to call her to donate again, she was eager to find another way to donate and so Tori began donating platelets: “When I learned that platelets help cancer patients, this gave me confidence to try TRIMA because even though I get squeamish when I see a needle, I picture all the children battling cancer who get poked on a daily basis.”
Cancer has played a major role in Tori’s life through numerous circumstances. Her great grandmother passed away from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and her great grandfather had lung cancer. Her best friend was only 15 years old when she passed away from Leukemia and her sister Caitlyn, is a cancer survivor who was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 5. When she discovered thousands of children battling cancer through Facebook pages; Tori, Caitlyn, and her mother Shana, wanted to help make a difference in their lives
In 2012, Tori, Caitlyn, and Shana, started an organization called Hearts of Hope. They create personalized handcrafted paper hearts and mail it to the children they encounter on Facebook that are battling cancer, “we wanted to give hope to those who are fighting cancer and a reminder to never give up,” she said.” Hearts of Hope has sent over 300 hearts around the world.
Tori is working on her Associates Degree in Photography at the Art Institute. She is part of “Team Poquito Mas” a Relay for Life team and St. Bladricks Foundation which raises money for a cure for childhood cancer. She is planning on becoming an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Ambassador to work with lawmakers to support policies to make cancer a top national priority. Tori encourages others to donate blood and platelets, “you don’t realize how many people need our help and it only takes a little effort to make a huge difference in someone’s life.”