Claire Frisch is well-known for her upbeat personality and selflessness. No matter how small the task maybe, Claire never skips a beat when it comes to her philanthropic responsibilities in our community. Although turning 85 this October, Claire is an active volunteer in our community. Claire has been an avid blood donor and volunteer for many years, but at one point, she needed to put a pause on donating because she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Even at a young age, Claire always had compassion to help others. She started donating in the 1970s during nurse’s training, “I knew first-hand how it’s important to donate especially, because my blood type is O-,” explains Claire. When Claire moved to Bakersfield from Whitter, CA she started donating at Houchin every 8 weeks. When her husband passed away in 2006, Claire noticed we were seeking a volunteer to assist with our high school mobiles and thought it would be a good opportunity to provide a bit of happiness back into her life. “I always look forward to chatting with the eager students and it’s an honor giving them their badge of courage for donating.” Claire believes that volunteering in your community is a necessity, “I have done lots of things in my life, but making a difference is a fulfillment in itself.”
Claire giving a first time donor their “badge of courage” at West High School.
As everything was returning to normal in her life, Claire found out she had breast cancer during a regular self-exam in 2009. Claire was relieved that she discovered her cancer when it was just at stage one. “Not many people are as fortunate as I was, the only thing that changed in my life is that I had to stop donating for 5 years,” said Claire. On February 23, 2015, Claire donated her first pint after being cancer free for a little over 5 years. Now, Claire is working towards her 12 gallon milestone!
Besides being a dedicated donor and volunteer at Houchin, Claire keeps busy volunteering with numerous organizations, including the Guild House, St. Philip the Apostle Church, and putting meals together for the homeless. She also enjoys knitting and catching up with her children and grandchildren. Claire encourages others to donate saying, “donated blood products are used for numerous purposes and of course save lives!”
We’d like to share news from Tehachapi this month with two announcements of interest to donors.
Cheers for Charity has awarded a $275 mini-grant to Houchin Community Blood Bank to boost holiday donation in the greater Tehachapi area from mid-November to mid-January. We are pleased to be one of 17 organizations receiving funding from the nonprofit Cheers for Charity. The group’s charitable donations are 75% higher this year according to long time blood donor and committee member Mary Beth Garrison, thanks to great support of their fundraising activities. More information about the holiday promotion made possible by Cheers for Charity will be coming to our Tehachapi area donors in November.
Tehachapi resident Loree Gracey donates platelets at the Bolthouse Donor Center in Bakersfield with Alicia.
Tehachapi resident Loree Gracey will be the Celebrity Bartender at Souza Family Vineyards pouring wine from 2-5 pm on Sunday, October 4 at the winery, 26877 Cummings Valley Road in Tehachapi. She will be accompanied by her maltese, AbbeNormal, who is the real celebrity according to Loree. The event is open to the public.
AbbeNormal needed heart surgery to repair two holes in her heart at only 9 weeks old, and she grabs all the attention wherever they go. Together they will raise funds for Houchin Community Blood Bank and increase awareness about the need for platelet donation. Loree is passionate about the cause because the need has increased with advances in medical technology.
“Platelet donations can be used by doctors to help patients before surgery and aid in their recovery,” said Christina Scrivner, Tehachapi area Account Manager for Houchin. The blood bank uses the latest computerized equipment to collect multiple blood products in the same visit. “We appreciate this opportunity to explain more about automated donation to Tehachapi donors at the beautiful Souza Family WInery,” she added.
People donate blood, platelets and plasma for many different reasons. Usually, our donors make a point of donating because they know they are positively impacting someone’s life.
However, some of our donors donate for other reasons close to the heart, and we want to hear more about those. We particularly want to know:
- What fuels your donation?
- Did our screening process help you by uncovering a health issue?
- Did someone close to you receive blood, platelets, or plasma?
We would love to hear your story, and share it if possible. We are happy to withhold your name. Your story or testimonial just might inspire someone to donate for the first time.
For more information contact Community Development at 661-616-2500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look for Houchin staff members to be wearing colorful lanyards and stickers throughout October to recognize our ongoing efforts to kick cancer by providing the blood, platelets and plasma needed by cancer patients of all types as they fight this terrible disease that affects so many.
Ninety percent of patients with acute leukemia and 60 percent of those with disseminated cancer are anemic and may need blood transfusions. To offset the effects of harsh treatments or recover from surgery, cancer patients also need the gold products provided through automated donation, or apheresis, by our volunteer donors. In particular, “Platelet transfusion is a critical and often necessary aspect of managing cancer, because low platelet counts frequently lead to bleeding complications and the drugs used to fight cancer commonly lead to decreased production and destruction of the very cells whose function is to stop bleeding”, according to the Moffitt Cancer Center. More information is available from the American Cancer Society.
Alex Ross has donated more than 100 platelets for cancer and trauma patients.
We believe October is a great month to “Harvest Hope” for cancer patients in the form of gold-colored platelets. Platelets can only come from volunteer donors, and it is hard finding enough donors to meet increased needs. It takes a little longer to donate platelets through automated donation, and the platelets last only 5 days on the shelf after testing, so the need for new and repeat donors never ends. We have seen the need for platelets double in less than two years as a result of new trauma protocols and cancer treatments. To tackle this increasing need, we intend to almost double our monthly goal of 32 new automated donation donors to achieve 60 new donors in October 2015!
Donors who join our Gold Club by donating platelets or plasma in October, will not only provide hope to patients in need, they will also receive a number of exclusive incentives. Gold Club members are entered into special monthly drawings only for automated donation donors, and receive two entries into most promotional drawings. In addition to these benefits during October, Gold Club donors will receive a colorful “Kick Cancer” mini squeeze football. New platelet donors will walk away with a gift bag of cancer awareness and Houchin items as a “thank you” for joining the club.
All October Gold Club donors can enter to win an enormous tool assortment from Stanley Black and Decker. Donors who make 6 automated donations in a calendar year are invited to our annual Gold Club Dinner, a heart-warming and exclusive evening for those donors and a guest.
“Harvest Hope” by clicking here or calling 661-616-2540 for more information and to schedule your automated donation!
Pumpkins, candy, costumes, and Halloween decor can rack up quite a bill, but the October Executives’ Association of Kern County monthly drawing is here to help. All donors during the month of October are automatically entered to win $500 CASH, sponsored by Reliable Moving and Storage!
Reliable Moving and Storage is a local, family owned moving and storage company in business for more than 40 years. The Reliable team provides the highest level of service backed by the full resources of United Van Lines, the largest moving company in the world. Reliable’s highly trained staff can move goods, including high-value electronics or delicate items, just about anywhere in the world. They have moved thousands of families and businesses across town, the nation and the world. We appreciate their support of blood donation in our community with this drawing prize!