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.


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 Prize Celebrates Spring

We are celebrating spring in April with an Executives Association of Kern County (EAKC) Monthly Prize drawing that could truly make you a family favorite. All, this month, donors will automatically be entered to win a fabulous floral arrangement by Log Cabin Florist and great night out at Cafe Med, with a total value of $500. The winner can have their Mother’s Day shopping done early, celebrate some other upcoming special event, or even use it to get out of the dog house!

Established in 1938,  Log-Cabin-logo-v1-300x158Log Cabin Florist  has been voted “Bakersfield’s Best Florist” for more than 18 years. Because it is a Real Local Florist, customers can send a personalized greeting card by uploading their own photo and writing, drawing or doodling on it, and have it delivered with a flower order the same day! With its 100% satisfaction guarantee, family owned Log Cabin Florist has been serving generations with each of life’s events.  From new baby bouquets to prom flowers, wedding days to funeral services, customers can rest assured they will get the best service and flowers in the business.The shop also offers attractive and long-lasting plants, beautiful pots and vases, and accessories and balloons that can make any occasion special, so plan a visit!

60264-logo-newOffering the finest cuisine from around the globe, an award-winning wine list, and an elegant atmosphere, Cafe Med has become a staple in fine dining. Cafe Med has foods ranging from Italian to Mediterranean with an extensive wine list that will cater to any taste. With a welcoming atmosphere and great service, you are sure to find something on the menu that will keep you coming back. Cafe Med also has a deli department, unique gifts and wines by the bottle, a fantastic happy hour and reasonably priced weeknight dinners-to-go for the family. Stop by sometime to grab a special bottle of wine or a hostess gift.

We thank these wonderful EAKC members for sponsoring the April gift for our donors!

Donate Life Day Honors Brayden’s Brave Heart

Brayden waits for a new heart.

Brayden waits for a new heart.

April is National Donate Life Month, encouraging organ donation, so JJ’s Legacy is joining us to co-sponsor Donate Life Day on Saturday, April 18 from 9 -1 pm at the Bolthouse Donor Center, 11515 Bolthouse Drive in Bakersfield. The day will feature information and activities on organ donation, organ and tissue transplants, and the need for blood products to support transplant patients.  JJ’s Legacy has provided an iPad Mini for a Donate Life Month drawing prize to encourage donation, and refreshments will be served.

Brayden has a good day.

Brayden dreams of playing like other children.

The day will honor 7-year-old Brayden Eidenshink, a local boy who has been waiting more than 220 days for a heart transplant. Brayden and his family have sponsored blood drives with us in the past, in recognition of all the blood he needed with prior surgeries. He has been on IVIG to help prepare his body for a transplant, and that medicine is made from plasma. Now, with his urgent need for a heart transplant, we want to show Brayden and his family that we are pulling for them all the way as he awaits his new heart.  You can learn more about this family’s journey on Facebook at Brayden’s Brave Heart. Donations can be made at any time to honor Brayden using Account Code 616.

If he is well enough to attend the event, Brayden and his mom, Brenda, will stop by to meet his friends.  Brayden’s Brave Heart has more than 2,200 friends on Facebook and we hope you will become one as well so you can follow his progress. The public is encouraged to attend Donate Life Day and sign a banner of hope and good wishes for Brayden as he continues his journey to a new heart.

PrintIt is particularly poignant that our Donate Life Day co-sponsor, JJ’s Legacy, is named for Jeffery Johns, a young man who tragically lost his life, but was able to serve others through organ donation. “His young and strong heart will continue to beat” through the organization, as well as the patient who received his heart.  We hope someone else will be as kind as Jeffery’s parents were in the face of extreme tragedy, so that Brayden gets his new heart.

Pink DotOn Donate Life Day, the public will be able to sign up for a Pink Dot on their license signifying intention to be an organ donor; donate blood, platelets and plasma; and join the bone marrow registry.  Members of the following organizations will be on hand with informational booths: JJ’s Legacy, American Heart Association, San Joaquin Community Hospital’s Grossman Burn Center, Advanced Center for Eyecare, National Kidney Foundation , Suggs Memorial Renal Fund, and Hina Patel Foundation. Transplant patients will be available to meet donors and the general public.

TheWish_logo_rgb_tag1We will also show the short film The Wish: A story of Hope, Faith & Generosity, at 9am, 10am, 11am and noon on Donate Life Day. This 45 minute film from Donate Life America tells the story of one woman’s difficult wait for a kidney transplant.  The film explores the dire situation for Black and Hispanic patients who need transplants because they are less likely to find a match due to a lack of donated organs coming from those communities.   A trailer from the film is available at the link.

We hope you will join us for this day honoring a special little boy waiting for his new heart.


He Helped 50 and Saved 5 People

Jeffery JohnsJeffrey Johns slipped away surrounded by family and friends in the early morning hours on Sunday, March 1, 2009, in the trauma center at Kern Medical Center.  He died from injuries suffered in a tragic accident a few hours earlier. Jeff was a vibrant young man who will always be in the thoughts and prayers of all who knew him.  Because his parents chose organ donation, so that part of Jeff would live on through others, 5 lives were saved by organ transplants, and 50 more were healed through tissue donation.

Jeff was born in Bakersfield, on July 29, 1981 to Lori and Tom Johns. He attended Norris Elementary and Middle School, and graduated from Garces Memorial High School in 1999. He was a gifted athlete, playing both baseball and football. He earned MVP honors as a quarterback. He briefly attended college, but returned to home to Bakersfield, entering the real estate appraisal business with his father. Jeff then became a successful loan officer for Countrywide Mortgage. He enjoyed golf, snowboarding, and hanging out with friends, and was an avid pro and college football fan.

Although Jeff’s family had never talked about organ and tissue donation in the past, according to his mother, “it felt like the right thing to do; Jeffrey was a giving person and if he knew that he could save someone else’s life he would have done it in a heartbeat.”

Transplant operationJeff’s heart saved Carl, a 64 year-old married man who had been able to return to work as an actor after his transplant. His right kidney allowed Jackie, a young girl to live without grueling dialysis treatments and lead a normal high school life. Cornea tissue transplants provided sight to two people, and Jeff’s left kidney, liver, and both lungs also gave others the gift of life!

In memory of Jeff’s gifts, JJ’s Legacy was founded by his mother. According to Lori Malkin: ” As a donor mother, I was inspired by the amazing legacy my son Jeffrey “JJ” Johns left after his passing. It became my passion to inspire and educate my community about the importance of organ and tissue donation. I started JJ’s Legacy in 2009 to honor Jeffrey, and it has grown to be so much more than I ever imagined! Today, JJ’s Legacy is educating and inspiring our community to become registered organ and tissue donors and honoring donor families and recipients in Kern County.”

JJ’s Legacy maintains a small Donate Life room in the Bolthouse Donor Center.  Stop in to visit it at any time to learn more about organ donation and the Pink Dot program on the California Driver’s License.  Or, visit JJ’s Legacy booth at our Donate Life Day, on April 18 from 9am-1pm at the Bolthouse Donor Center.  JJ’s Legacy is sponsoring a National Donate Life Month prize for April: an iPad Mini.  All donors will automatically be entered to win this prize.

2015 EAKC Monthly Donor Drawings

Updated EAKC Drawing logoFor a second straight year, the Executives’ Association of Kern County is sponsoring a Monthly Donor Prize valued at $500 or more.  All donors are automatically entered to win! there are no slips to fill out, your entry form is your blood, platelet or plasma donation. Each visit to the blood bank serves as an entry that month, so whole blood donors could be entered to win 6 times, and platelet/plasma donors as many as 24 times throughout the year if they maximize their donations completely.

The EAKC was founded in 1984, and has 75 local business members, meeting weekly to network.  EAKC’s motto is “Expect the Best” and the organization prides itself on being Bakersfield’s “oldest and most trusted business network group”. Only one business can join per category, so it is an exclusive group of business leaders. Houchin Community Blood Bank has been a member since 2002. A downloadable list of EAKC’s member businesses is available here.  We hope you will consider these fine people who support blood donation in our community when you need services and supplies.

Here are the exciting prize packages for 2015:

EAKC 2015


Join us for Our Annual Spring Fling

Spring fling cropSpring Break may be great for everyone to enjoy a week off from school or work, it is hard on blood banks nationwide. Between travel and family activities, we know it is hard to find time to donate blood, platelets and plasma. But we hope you will try!

To remind donors that Spring Break is actually a great week to find an hour to save lives, we host a Spring Fling Blood Drive each year. Universal Studios 50thThis year’s dates are March 23 to April 4, 2015. Each day during the drive, 4 lucky donors will win a free Kern Value Card (KVC) membership, and all donors during the drive will be entered to win two 3 day admission passes to Universal Studios Hollywood and a gas card to get there. Universal Studios Hollywood is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year with new rides and attractions.

Kern Value Card LogoKVC members receive special admission pricing to many attractions besides Universal Studios, such as Six Flags (r) Magic Mountain, Disneyland (R) Resort , Legoland (r) California Resort and Knott’s Berry Farm. KVC members also receive hundreds and hundreds of discounts on dining, shopping and retail, services and entertainment. Click here for a full list of participating merchants.

The need for blood never takes a vacation, so we hope to see you over Spring Break!


St. Patrick’s Day Pints Lead to Gold

Pint for GoldGranite Construction is sponsoring a St. Patrick’s Day Blood Drive at both donor centers again this year, on Tuesday, March 17th.  Participating in blood drives to celebrate the holiday is a nationwide effort for Granite. Together we encourage you to bring your own pint and celebrate with us. In fact, bring a friend with you!

St Pats 2014 (1)All day at both centers, the canteens will have special treats and refreshments.  Each donor will be able to “go for the gold” and pick a coin from our Granite Pot o’ Gold. Coins are marked with a prize. Prizes will include California Lottery Scratchers, Irish-for-a-Day goodies, assorted gift cards, and $20 certificates at McMurphy’s Irish Pub.   Two grand prize winners of $50 will be drawn from all the donors, one from each donor center!

Since 1922, Granite has continued a commitment to its St Pats 2 (1)clients at the private, local, state and federal level, providing award-winning construction services in mining, earthwork, water/sewer, power, tunneling, rail, highway and bridge construction. Granite also produces construction materials, such as sand, gravel, ready-mix, recycled asphalt product and asphalt concrete. As one of the largest diversified heavy civil contractors and construction materials producers in the United States, Granite strives to provide customers with the highest standards of quality, value, and service on every project.

granite-construction-squarelogo-1387305403388Granite is proud of its commitment to each community it touches.  According to former CEO Bill Dorey: “As residents of the communities we work in, we are community minded and people oriented. We take pride in knowing that the facilities we help build will benefit our friends and families. We firmly believe that our time-tested philosophy of doing each job right the first time and providing good value to our customers is the true secret of our success. It made good sense a hundred years ago, and it makes good sense today—no matter how large or how small the project.”

We appreciate Granite’s annual support of our St. Patrick’s Day Blood Drive!

Condor’s Out for Blood in 2015

_2MN9705One lucky donor will score a great prize during this year’s Condors Out for Blood Drive: the use of the Condors Legends Suite with a great view of all the game action for 18 people, AND the opportunity to drop the puck before the game! Everyone will really be impressed with the luxurious accommodations, including a ride up the private elevator and no-host waiter/waitress service. Optional catering is also available in the suite. Truly a “suite deal”!

The Condors have been treating families to a great night out for 17 years, and have just become the Official ECHL Affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers.  This is really a move up in the standings which promises to step up the action to an all new high!

BakersfieldCondors LogoFor your chance to win this fabulous night out in Condorstown, donate during this year’s Condors Out for Blood Drive which takes place from Thursday, March 5 to Thursday, March 19, 2015.  During the drive, every donor will receive a voucher good for a $1 lower level ticket to the game on March 24th against the rival Alaska Aces. That leaves extra cash to enjoy your choice of refreshments while watching an action-packed game! The grand prize winner will be drawn at 12:00 noon on Friday, March 20 so the lucky donor can plan their guest list for the Legends Suite.

There will also be a blood drive social at the Bolthouse Donor Center on Wednesday, March 18 from 5:00 to 6:30 pm with Condors players and mascots.  Come save some lives, meet the guys, and enjoy Shred the Competition Sandwiches. The KUZZ Prize wheel will be here with a live remote broadcast too. We hope to see you then!

The Bakersfield Condors are very active in the community sponsoring such annual favorites as the Teddy Bear Toss for less fortunate children, and making public appearances at special events all over town.  The Condors have become internationally know for their promotions, including the infamous escaping condor video on YouTube, which now has well over a million views! The Condors obviously like to show their fans a great time, and we hope all our donors who are not yet into this exciting sport will give a game a try with their voucher.

EAKC Pot o’ Gold for March

$500 Pot of Gold CroppedThanks to Continental Labor & Staffing Resources we really do have a pot o’ gold for one lucky March donor. The Executives’ Association of Kern County (EAKC) prize for the month is $500 in cold hard cash! Easy to spend, easy to win.  All you need to do is donate on a mobile drive or at either donor center during the month.

Continental Labor and Staffing Resources is proud to be the chosen employment service provider in the EAKC. A  leader in staffing and safety since 1993,  Continental specializes in traditional staffing solutions including temporary help, temp-to-hire positions, and direct hire recruitment. With branches in Ridgecrest, Paso Robles, Visalia and Bakersfield, Continental is proud to serve employers in a wide variety of industries by linking them with the employees they need, on a temporary or permanent basis.

continental laborContinental’s motto is “Helping Your Company Grow One Person at a Time”, with a focus on meeting the employment needs in these areas: Heavy Industrial, Construction, Clerical, Manufacturing & Distribution, Light Industrial, and Automotive Industry. Job safety is a primary concern, so at Continental, extra care is given to ensuring that each person being placed understands that “if you BELIEVE in Safety, you will act SAFELY”. Continental’s vision is “To be recognized as the leader in staffing in the communities in which we serve and to achieve excellence in human resource solutions”.

Businesses in the Executive’s Association of Kern County provides a donor prize each month to encourage volunteers to donate blood, platelet and plasma to serve the transfusion needs of local patients.