Take a Bite Out of Shark Week


sharksSharks are out for blood and so are we, from July 6 to 11, 2015 during the Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week. During Shark Week, donors can enter to win a trip to Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific featuring Shark Lagoon and a night on the Queen Mary. Donors will also receive an awesome free “Lifeguard” themed t-shirt.

The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California is dedicated to instilling wonder, respect, and preservation for the Pacific Ocean, its inhabitants and ecosystems. It is home to 11,000 animals in over 50 exhibits. Shark Lagoon is a 10,000 square foot exhibit featuring more than 150 sharks, some you can touch, and some you can’t!

RMS_Queen_Mary_2_in_Trondheim_2007The Queen Mary is rich with history dating back into the Great Depression. She exemplifies elegance and luxury. Since taking her maiden voyage on May 27, 1936, the Queen Mary set a new benchmark in transatlantic travel. During WWII, the Queen Mary made the transition from elegant cruise ship to the largest and fastest troopship. Following the war, she returned to her former glory, but with the increase in popularity of air travel, the Queen Mary made her final transition to what we know her as today: a floating hotel, attraction and event/wedding venue, home to three world class restaurants,  and an icon in Southern California.

So dive in to one of our donor centers or mobile blood drives from July 6 to the 11 to enter to win this unforgettable Long Beach getaway. Walk-ins are welcome, but an appointment is much appreciated, so please click here to request one today.

Featured July Donor of the Month

photo (69)Humble, philanthropic and kind-hearted are a few words that sum up dedicated donor Duane Spickler. Duane has achieved 16 gallons and is also our blood drive chairperson for First United Methodist Church. Growing up, Duane always wanted to make a difference in someone’s life and every 8 weeks he gets to fulfill this mission.

Duane began donating in 1992 while in the Sheriff’s Academy because his trainer encouraged the students to find out their blood type, “I always wanted to donate but I had a fear of needles, but since I was in the process of becoming a Sheriff I thought it would be another great way to serve the community,” said Duane. He continues to donate because it makes him feel good knowing that he is keeping hope alive for someone. But Duane always wanted to do more, so when one of the members of the church he attends fell ill and needed blood, Duane decided to host a blood drive. “I always wondered why I couldn’t have done this years ago, because my stepdad, who was a long time donor, was the chairperson for Stockdale Moose Lodge and he inspired me to dedicate myself to this cause,” explained Duane.

It’s not an easy task to be a chairperson for a blood drive, but Duane works hard to make sure his blood drives run smoothly. Even juggling his full time job as a sheriff, other volunteer work, and his family, Duane manages to find time to organize a successful blood drive at First United Methodist Church. “You just have to prioritize and organize your life and anything is possible,” Duane explains. Duane is passionate and driven to meet his blood drive goal. If he falls short, he figures out a way to improve his next blood drive.

Besides being a dedicated donor and chairperson, Duane enjoys hunting, traveling and spending time with his family. Duane encourages others to donate, “the tagline, people live when people give truly exemplifies the importance of donating blood. Don’t wait until someone you know needs it, there will always be a need.”

June 2015 Featured Donor of the Month

photo (3)This Father’s Day will be an extra special one for Stephan Maxwell because his family will be complete.It’s a moment Stephan thought wouldn’t be possible. On May 2014, Stephan’s son Brandyn, who was 12 at the time, was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, or RMS. RMS is a very rare type of cancer that affects children more often than adults. Even though this life-changing moment meant there was a chance Stephan would lose Brandyn, Stephan did not succumb to this possibility and instead, he was by Brandyn’s side fighting his cancer.

Stephan became a regular donor after Brandyn’s diagnosis. Stephan and his family were receiving so much help and support from the community, he thought the only way he could show how his thanks, was through donating. “Even though my son received his treatments in Los Angeles, the best way I could support him was through donating blood products. I wanted to start my own mission to help other people– to give them a lifesaving chance of winning their battles,” explained Stephan.

Then one day, Stephan learned he could do more than donate blood, “Phlebotomist Heather, noticed I would fill up my donation bag quickly. She convinced me to donate platelets and explained to me how platelets are used for cancer patients, which gave me a deeper connection to this cause,” said Stephan. Now, donating platelets has become a part of Stephan’s Wednesday routine, and he has donated 41 platelets.

photo (4)Stephan is the essence of a great father and selfless person. Even with a full-time job, being a dedicated platelet donor and a referee at local soccer games, he was with Brandyn every step of the way. Through the support of his fiancé, Stephan is able to find time to donate platelets. “She’s been my big support system; without her taking care of Brandyn, this might not have happened,” explained Stephan. Every day they never lost hope because they knew Brandyn is strong and a fighter. Just seven days before Stephan and his family were going to celebrate Brandyn’s 13th birthday, they learned he was cancer free on April 22, 2015.

Stephan MaxwellSo, this Father’s day will be a special one for the Maxwell household, “I am looking forward to spending time with my three kids on Father’s Day; a moment that I will cherish forever.” Stephan encourages others to donate, “what if a member in your family needed blood products, what would you do if we didn’t have it? It’s just a small sacrifice of time.”

Kicking off Summer with Ashley Furniture HomeStore Day!

10600434_10152416061399582_4648429393115175008_nWe are proud to partner with Ashley Furniture HomeStore®  on Saturday, June 6, 2015 for the third time to help kickoff summer donations! Summer vacations and travel make it harder for people to find time to give blood. Special blood drives like this one at Ashley Furniture Homestore® helps ensure a stable blood supply to offset this seasonal decline.

The Ashley Furniture HomeStore® mobile blood drive will be held 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 a 25% off coupon for merchandise at the Ashley Furniture Homestore® while supplies last. Also at the mobile drive donors, will receive a coupon for a FREE Route 44 Big Drink thanks to Sonic. There’s a convenient Sonic right next to our mobile drive at the Ashley Furniture HomeStore®. For more information  or to schedule an appointment, call us at 661-616-2505. You can also make an appointment online.

HomeStoreLogoAshley Furniture has always had a proud sense of its history and the wisdom to know what made it great. Ashley Furniture continues to strive to enhance its communities by working to improve their infrastructure and community services. Locally owned Ashley Furniture HomeStore® are extremely active in their communities supporting many nonprofit organizations. Thank you for supporting ours!

May Featured Donor of the Month

photo 2 (15)Mothers play a significant role in their child’s life whether it may be providing unconditional love through their successes and failures and even support through their struggles. Gail Ramos practices this notion with her family, friends and co-workers. When someone is in need, Gail doesn’t hesitate to help other people and she is willing to go that extra mile for the people she cares about.

Gail was inspired by her mother, Geraldine Adams to donate blood, “my mom is a regular donor and she would always tell me it’s a simple way to make a positive impact in someone’s life,” explained Gail. In December 1996, Gail donated her first pint at the Kern County Superintendent of School’s mobile blood drive. Unexpectedly the following year, donating blood would have a different meaning to Gail. Gail’s best friend’s brother who was only in 8th grade at the time, was diagnose with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In a heartbeat, Gail wanted to help out in any way possible. Then, Gail found out she was an exact match to donate blood for him. “When my best friend’s mom told me she saw the doctor hang my unit for her son, that was a life changing moment for the both of us. It’s an amazing feeling knowing that I saved someone’s life. Because every time I see my best friend’s brother, it makes me realize donating blood was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life,” expressed Gail.

Gail is proud of her 7 gallon license plate!

You will find Gail at one of our east Bakersfield mobiles where she has donated 7 gallons of her O+ blood. When Gail donates she always tries to include her daughter and son so they can get in the habit of donating and understand the importance of community service. Even though Gail’s son is autistic, she is proud that her son hopes to donate one day because he understands the importance of being someone’s lifesaver.

Besides being an avid blood donor, Gail is a huge NASCAR fan and she enjoys gardening and spending time with her family. She encourages others to donate, “people should not wait for another tragedy before they donate, they need to act now because you never know who will need it in the moment.”

 

Pledge to Give This Summer!

Summer PledgeTo help us meet patient needs this summer, donors are needed to come in regularly to give blood, platelets and plasma.  The Summer Pledge Drive encourages such donations with exclusive prizes available only to those who pledge and donate between May 1 and September 30, 2015.  Each visit to a donor center or mobile drive qualifies you for one entry for all the prizes.  We will accumulate the entries for each person pledging to give, so you only need to pledge one time using the form below.  Thanks for taking the pledge to save lives this summer season!  Information on the pledge drive prizes is available here.

Local Battle of the Bay Drive Returns

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The Bakersfield Black Hole Club
is organizing their 3rd annual blood drive along with the Kern County Niner Empire, Bakersfield Raider Booster Club,Thee Empire Faithful SF 49er Booster Club. We call it Kern County’s Battle of The Bay. These clubs are all coming together for a common goal: to save lives in their community! Support your favorite team by donating blood, platelets or plasma, beginning Thursday, May 7 through Saturday, May 9, 2015. Donate during the drive and you’ll be entered to win a 32″ LED DVD Combo TV! Socialize and save lives with other Raider and 49er fanatics at the kick-off social event on Thursday, May 7 at the Truxtun Donor Center, 5901 Truxtun Avenue, from 4-7 pm.

10251984_10152177623749582_5524475859871411377_nPaul Ocampo, President of The Bakersfield Black Hole Raiders Club, wanted their club to take part in a third blood drive to make a positive impact in the community. “The Black Hole Raiders Club members believe in spreading our message of positive fanaticism through solidarity as we promote team spirit, community outreach, and civic pride. We are proud supporters of our local Bakersfield community and feel honored to be able to donate blood, help save lives and encourage all others to do the same, he said.”

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Karina and Deisy are holding up the 32′ Flat Screen TV that one lucky donor will win!

There will be a Tailgate Party at the Truxtun Donor Center on Saturday, May 9th from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm featuring delicious tailgate food for donors and fans.  Live music is planned and donors will have one last chance to score the flat screen TV! For more information about Kern County’s Battle of The Bay Blood Drive, or an appointment, call us at 661-616-2505. You can also make an appointment online.

Awesome New Gold Club Dinner

Gold Club DinnerAlmost 300 donors and guests were in attendance at our inaugural Gold Club Dinner. This annual event was called the Platelet Dinner in the past, but the new name takes into account that plasma donors are now part of the club.  Plasma only donations began in April 2014.

Guests enjoyed Hodel’s famous buffet, raffle prizes, and snack gifts compliments of platelet donor Michael Mayo of Frito-Lay, and platelet donor Gary Ketchell who provided pistachios for his fellow donors. TerumoBCT, Inc, maker of our automated donation machines, made a monetary donation and Ballooniverse by Jennifer made a contribution to the decorations that night. The theme this year was “Go for the Gold,” in keeping with the name change. Director of Community Development, Carola Enriquez, explained to the audience that the new Gold Club designation reflects the color of these specialized products: “not only does this sound exclusive, it helps us explain the club to donors we want to ‘convert’ from donating red or whole blood to platelets and plasma,” she explained.

1743639_10152843847294582_4001421973234486907_nPresident and CEO Greg Gallion updated the audience on the state of the blood bank and applauded our platelet and plasma donors for their significant contributions to our successes. He reported that we are proud of having the lowest “out date rate” in the nation. He was very happy to report that our nonprofit’s outdate rate is only 2.5% meaning that 97.5% of our platelet collections make it to a patient. The national average is more than 4 times that figure! In 2014, 73.2% of products from automated collection were platelets and we collected 2,391 units of plasma which was up 1.3% over the year before. He explained the increasing need for platelets and plasma, and a decrease in the need for red cells, due to new treatment protocols.

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Pictured are Harold, Nurse Cindy, and Randy, all Houchin staff members. Harold had just finished a plasma only donation. Nurse Cindy was our featured survivor speaker at the Gold Club dinner earlier this month. Randy is in the middle of a triple platelet donation.

Cindy Fisher, RN was the featured survivor speaker at this years dinner. Cindy is one of our Charge Nurses, known to many donors. Cindy is a cancer survivor and needed blood, platelets and plasma in her fight for life. At one point she was only given 2 weeks to live. Her story of shock at the diagnosis, agonizing treatments, rehab, debilitating setbacks, and ultimately kicking cancer drew a standing ovation from the audience. Her story was truly an inspiration to all who attended.

To be invited to the 2016 dinner, all you have to do is donate platelets or plasma through automated donation at least 6 times during 2015. For more information, please call 661-323-4222 and ask for the Trima Desk.

 

 

April 2015 Donor of the Month

photo 2 (14)Just a month after Reagan Wanner turned 16, she was in line to donate blood at North High School. Reagan was inspired by her father, David to donate because, “I watched my dad be someone else’s Superhero, which made me want to follow in his footsteps,” said Reagan. It took Reagan only 15 months to hit her gallon milestone and so far she is the youngest donor to reach her gallon this year, as well as our first new member of the Gallon Grad Club.

Reagan’s first donation experience might have stopped others from donating again, “my veins weren’t as plumped and the phlebotomist was having a hard time finding my veins and so, my first donation was unsuccessful and my arm was even bruised for a couple of weeks,” explained Reagan. But, this incident did not stop her from donating, “my first try was just a small hiccup;  just thinking about other people who are sick in the hospital who have it worse, made me want to donate as soon as possible.” Reagan’s second attempt was a complete success!  On January 15, 2015 Reagan achieved her first gallon! “I am inspired to continue my mission of saving lives because of my dad, the 10 gallon achievement wall, and of course the people that need blood products,” Reagan added.

Besides being a dedicated donor and a busy high school student, Reagan enjoys being part of the Youth Group at Parkside Church, volunteering at the League of Dreams and she takes extra classes at CSUB. Reagan encourages others to donate, ” if you have a fear of needles, well, it isn’t as bad as it seems and it only takes about 35 minutes of your time to save at least 3 lives!”

 

 

March Featured Donor of the Month

photo 1 (16)Growing up, Kevin Mulhause was like any typical teenager where everything was about him. Until one life changing incident triggered him to make a change. Now, Kevin is the 8th highest platelet donor at Houchin.

In the early 1990s, Kevin received a call from his aunt that her son needed blood products because he had leukemia. Without any hesitation, Kevin stopped by the blood bank to make a lifesaving donation. “At the time I wanted to help, but I was little naive about the process. But, Houchin staff educated me on the importance of donating, which made me commit,” said Kevin.

photo 2 (11)Kevin donated whole blood every 8 weeks until one day, one of our staff members asked him if he could donate platelets because of his great veins! “If I can maximize my donation with one visit then why not, especially knowing, platelets only have a 5 day shelf life,” said Kevin. Now, Kevin has donated 545 platelets and 10 pints of whole blood!

Kevin continues to donate in honor of his mom who died 10 years ago from cancer, and for all the survivor stories he has witnessed at each platelet dinner he attends. Besides being an avid donor, he enjoys racing remote control cars in his spare time. Kevin encourages others to donate because, “someone will always need blood products and without donors, we won’t be giving patients a fighting chance to survive.”