High School Challenge Kicks Off

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The 2015 – 2016 High School Blood Drive Challenge is off to a great start, with the first few high schools bringing in big numbers. Unfortunately, we can’t always visit ALL the high schools in Kern County as often as we might like, so we encourage high school students to visit our donor centers as well. Donating blood is a great way to earn community service hours and by donating at the donor centers, students can become Gallon Grads that much faster!  We had significant growth in donors crediting high schools over the summer, a time when we always fight lower donation levels. Click here for the chart of the current standings in the challenge.

All pints donated at the donor centers, or any mobile drives, count towards the annual high school challenge so long as the donor credits a participating high school. The count is not limited to students and staff either.  Family members and alumni are welcome to credit their high school of choice too! The school scoring the most pints at the donor centers wins the new Extra Mile Award sponsored by Kern Schools Federal Credit Union.  In addition to a beautiful trophy, the ambassadors at the winning school each receive a $50 Visa Gift Card thanks to Kern Schools.

As always, the winning schools will be recognized at a wonderful luncheon in May 2016. So we hope all the schools will “up their game” to try to come out on top!

Wristband Blood Drive Another Great Success

The annual Fair Wristband Drive was a great success! Giving Blood is the Fairest Thing to Do was sponsored this year by LeBeau-Thelen LLP. This drive continues to be a donor favorite and brought in 372 donations. There were 10 winners a day, receiving a Kern County Fair carnival wristband valued at $30 each if purchased at the fair, or $25 in advance, plus an adult pass to the Kern County Fair. Here is a list of all our winners:Wristband Winners

We thank LeBeau-Thelen LLP and the Great Kern County Fair for their support of blood donation in our community by making this 6th annual event for our donors possible!

Tehachapi Donor News

We’d like to share news from Tehachapi this month with two announcements of interest to donors.

Cheers to CharityCheers 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.

Loree Gracey

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.


Tell Us Your Story

gtstgsfgPeople 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.

Story quoteHowever, 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.

Your Name (required)

Who is this story about?

Your Email

Telephone Number

Brefly tell the story here:

For more information contact Community Development at 661-616-2500 or info@hcbb.com.

Harvest Hope in October

Ribbons kick cancerLook 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!

FullSizeRender (10)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!

Fall Into Cash this October

autumn-72736_1280Pumpkins, 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-logoReliable 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!


Good Neighbor Blood Drive

Angie and Mallory

Angie was happy to see Mallory Cuevas from Kern Schools Federal Credit Union during the neighborhood blood drive.

seven Oaks day 1The first ever Seven Oaks Good Neighbor Blood Drive was held on Wednesday, September 23 from noon to 4 pm at the Bolthouse Donor Center, 11515 Bolthouse Drive. There were hourly and grand prize drawings thanks to the neighbors!

In-Shape Seven Oaks provided a one month pass to its Diamond Level facility just north of our Bolthouse Donor Center at Ming and Buena Vista, which was won by Jaime Doniaz. Runaway Gypsy, a new boutique in the same shopping center near In-Shape, provided a mystery bag won by Christine Cunningham.

Winners of hourly drawings for tote bags jam-packed with neighborhood goodies, and gift cards provided by The Village at Seven Oaks Assisted Living & Memory Care were: Angeline Garcia, Jacquie Russo, David Kaus, Andrea Darnell, Arturo Esparza, Betty Garcia, Sherrie Clayton and Michelle Sharp.

We thank all the neighbors who helped sponsor the Seven Oaks Good Neighbor Blood Drive:

  • BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse
  • Kern Schools Federal Credit Union
  • Wiki’s Wine Dive & Grill
  • Wali Digital, Inc.
  • McDonald’s
  • Alta One Federal Credit Union
  • Jersey Mike’s Subs
  • Dewar’s Soda Fountain & Fine Candies
  • The Village at Seven Oaks Assisted Living & Memory Care
  • In-Shape Seven Oaks
  • Runaway Gypsy

We really appreciate the neighborly support of the Seven Oaks Good Neighbor Blood Drive! 

A Week of Remembrance

imagesThe anniversary of 9/11 is a great time to ask if there is enough blood on the shelf right now to save lives in Kern County.This year marks the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and we are organizing a Week of Remembrance blood drive beginning Tuesday, September 8th through Friday, September 11th. This blood drive is to honor all first responders, including those who lost their lives on 9/11.

Donors donating during the Week of Remembrance blood drive will be entered to win a $100 Target gift card sponsored by Alert Disaster Restoration. The winner will be picked at 6 PM on Friday, September 11. Plus, the first 150 donors on September 11 will receive a 9/11 memorial lapel pin compliments of John Rodgers, Wells Fargo Advisors.  Donors will also receive a free adult admission to the Great Kern County Fair while supplies last.

9elevenSeptember 11, 2001 started normally at Houchin Community Blood Bank, but as the attack on our nation in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington DC began to unfold, a shocked public began to line up to help in the first way they could think of: to donate blood. Staff members worked practically around the clock doing whatever they could to cope with the outpouring of donors; some even came in on their vacations to help. People waited for hours in the heat to donate. More than 25 volunteers helped with donor care. Local businesses brought in free food and water for donors and staff. Radio and television stations reported live on the efforts.

539628_10151297327079582_1714310845_nToday blood banks stress that the blood on the shelves is what saves lives. After the Boston Marathon Bombing and the explosions in Waco, Texas willing donors were told to make appointments to replenish the tested and approved blood immediately available to help victims. In each case, more than enough blood was easily obtained to meet the needs of those injured from blood banks regionally. When you stop to think about it, blood donors are really part of the first responder team in any emergency requiring blood products.

Chp gives“Giving blood, platelets and or plasma is a fitting way for people to commemorate those who lost their lives on 9/11 and especially to honor the first responders who responded to the attacks and those who serve and protect communities every day,” said Joy Invina, Community Development Account Manager. The blood types most needed are: O+, O-, B- and A- blood.  Donors with those types are urged to come in to either donor center to ensure that there is enough tested and approved blood on the shelves to serve all patients.  The universal O- blood is particularly crucial to serve O- patients, newborns and those most critically ill and injured.


The 2015 Conversion Challenge

GOLD CLUB HAT NEW final embThe winners of our fourth annual conversion challenge, this year called the Conversion Excursion, were announced on August 26th, 2015. The challenge occurred during the month of June, and encouraged Donor Services staff to educate donors about our automated donation program, which uses specialized Trima machines to procure platelets and other blood products, and then “convert” the donors to give automated donation a try that day or during a future appointment.

This Conversion Excursion helped grow membership in our Gold Club. This is a crucially important initiative for us as the need for platelets and plasma is growing, and new donors are always needed give them. People often think of blood banks as needing only red blood cells, so any opportunity to explain the need for golden-colored platelets and plasma are very welcome. A total of 24 employees took part in the challenge, resulting in 37 automated donation appointments and 8 “instant conversions” where the donor was able to participate on the spot. A total of 48 additional products game in from those efforts.


Jennifer Jeski, Greg Gallion, Alma Cueto, and Lori Fernandez Lopez celebrate the successful end of June’s Conversion Excursion.

The employees who converted the most donors were:

1st Place. Winner of 4 passes to Universal Studios Hollywood: Lori Fernandez Lopez

2nd Place. Winner of $50 Visa Card: Alma Cueto

3rd Place. Winner of a $25 Starbucks Gift Card: Jennifer Jeske

The Conversion Challenge was begun by Albert Gonzalez, a dedicated Trima donor, who underwrote the prizes personally. Albert understands the high demand for platelets 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 his congratulations to all the winners.

Fair Wristbands Drive is Back!

wristbandThanks to our new sponsor, Le Beau Thelen LLP, the fair wristbands blood drive is back. Giving Blood is the Fairest Thing to Do, is the theme of the week, and starting on Monday, September 14th through Friday, September 18th at donor centers only, donors can enter to win “advance sale coupons”, which are good for a carnival ride wristband, and an adult pass to the Great Kern County Fair. The fair runs from September 23rd – October 4th, so be sure to schedule your appointment to give during this drive today! Free adult admission passes to the Fair will be available to all donors while supplies last.

Kern County Fair carnival wristbands are valued at $30 each if purchased at the fair, or $25 in advance. They are good for all rides, all day for any one day at the fair. They do not include admission or parking to the fair and there are height and other restrictions that can limit ride admission. Winners will be announced daily, with 10 winners every day. Winners are required to pick up their prizes by September 21st or forfeit their prize.

Le BeLe Beau Thelen is recognized as one of the most successful civil practice firms in Central California. The firm has a reputation for providing creative and practical legal advice coupled with zealous advocacy. Le Beau Thelen jumped at the opportunity to sponsor such a popular blood drive among Houchin donors, and have shown support in our mission by hosting a number of successful blood drives at their firm. We extend a big thanks to Le Beau Thelen for their support of blood banking in our community by making this 6th annual event for donors possible.