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.

Second Annual Hearts United Blood Drive

Heart LogoNothing beats a healthy heart, the American Heart Association – Kern County Chapter (AHA) are joining us for our second annual Hearts United Blood Drive in celebration of American Heart Month. One out of every four deaths is heart related, and the surgeries which prevent those deaths often require blood products. You can help by donating blood, platelets or plasma this month!

Blood, platelet and plasma donors help save the lives of cardiac patients before, during, sometimes after surgery, so each week in February, we will be featuring a heart surgery survivor and their “story from the heart.”  For each pint of blood donated during the month-long drive, we will donate $5.00 to AHA, up to $5,000. This partnersGo Red Logohip between the two nonprofits highlights the need for blood every day to serve heart patients.  In addition, one lucky blood donor will win two tickets to the Go Red for Women Luncheon, Fashion Show and Conference on Friday, February 27 organized by our local AHA chapter.

The American Heart Association is the largest voluntary health organization dedicated to defeating heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Their  mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke the nation’s No.1 and No.4 killers. Transfusion of red blood cells is required in 40%-90% of patients undergoing cardiac surgery, depending on the surgery type. On average, a heart surgery patient needs up to 6 units of red blood cells and 1 platelet transfusion.

  • Find our more about our featured heart surgery survivors who needed blood products here.
  • February is American Heat Month. Schedule a blood donation in honor of someone you know and other cardiac patients in need. Schedule Now. 

Stories from the Heart

Heart LogoIn February we think of the heart. Blood, platelet and plasma donors are everyday heroes whose donations save and enhance the lives of patients in need. Health organizations estimate a heart transplant requires 4-6 units of red blood cells; adult open heart surgery, 2-6 units of red blood cells, 2-4 units of plasma and 1-10 units of platelets; newborn open heart surgery, 1-4 units of red blood cells, 1-2 units of plasma, and 1-4 units of platelets; and abdominal aortic aneurysm, 4-6 units of red blood cells.

Each week in February during the Hearts United Blood Drive, we will be featuring a heart surgery survivor from the American Heart Association-Kern County Chapter and their “story from the heart.” Each survivor will be hosting a group donation during their featured week at the Bolthouse Donor Center as well.

Week one: Lori Gibbons
Lori GibbonsIn August 2013, Lori Gibbons was at work when she felt pain in her back and chest and couldn’t catch her breath. She knew something wasn’t right and tried to dismiss it, but decided to have her colleague take her to the hospital. Lori subconsciously remembered the AHA “Just A Little Heart Attack” video that her fellow State Farm coworker and friend, Brandi Dawlatly, had recently shared, and that’s when she realized she was having a heart attack. Before Lori was put in the ambulance she told her 20 year old son by text to come over to the hospital after his college final. “They brought him back to the ER room as they working on me I told him how proud I was of him, how he cannot let this affect him and he’ll be so successful in life and have a beautiful family, I made him promise whatever happens, make me proud,” said Lori.  Lori underwent surgery, survived and went home to recover. Only one day later, she had a second heart attack due to a blood clot, and underwent another surgery. Her severe wake-up call has led her to change her lifestyle by eating well, exercising, and losing weight. Lori is grateful to her friends for saving her life, and she hopes her story is a testament to the power of heart health education. In April 2014, Lori had another surgery and two more stents were put in her heart. With 3 surgeries under her belt, Lori received numerous blood products, so she is forever thankful to our blood donors. Not only did they save her life, but that of her sister as well as she battled cancer twice.

Lori will be hosting her group donation on Thursday, February 12 at the Bolthouse Donor Center from 4 pm – 7 pm.

Week two: Nikki West
Nikki WestNikki was an active college athlete at California State University Bakersfield (CSUB)  until a cardiomyopathy nearly took her life on April 15, 2009. It triggered a sudden cardiac arrest while she was swimming at school. Nikki’s heart had stopped beating. Passing students pulled her out of the water, and CPR was performed. An ambulance took her to the hospital where she remained unconscious for days. A long and slow rehabilitation process followed. The loss of oxygen to her brain resulted in memory loss. It was very difficult for her to go back to school, but after much hard work and dedication, Nikki began to slowly regain her memory and was able to graduate and now she is pursuing her masters at CSUB. Nikki’s story is one of perseverance, and she is extremely grateful for the friends, family and professors who supported her through her recovery. She is also grateful to all the blood donors who made it possible for her to have a second chance.

Nikki will be hosting her group donation on Saturday, February 7 at the Bolthouse Donor Center from 11 am – 2 pm.

Week three: Cindy Steel
cindy steelCindy was out working in her garden in late 2011 when she experienced what she thought was heartburn at the time. Then as the weeks went by, Cindy continued to have this same feeling. Sleeping at night became very uncomfortable, as she started having a deep burning sensation in her chest and the pain would move to her shoulders and into her jaw. After a month of many tests and medications, no problems were found with Cindy’s digestive system, so she was referred to a cardiologist.  Her cardiologist immediately scheduled an angiogram at 11:30 a.m., by 4:00 p.m. that same day she was having open heart surgery, which turned out to be a quadruple bypass. Cindy had 95% blockage, yet prior to this health emergency, Cindy had never been diagnosed with any major medical conditions. Cindy had always been a very active person throughout her life. She loved to garden, and go camping and fishing with her husband, David. Cindy was not going to let this heart condition get her down. Cindy prevailed in her surgery and since then, has learned to cook healthier.  Lifestyle changes have been critical: “having a supportive husband and family is very crucial to making changes to your lifestyle too,” says Cindy. Cindy is happy to share her experience with others in hope to raise awareness about the #1 killer of women. Cindy also understands the importantance of blood donors, “a constant supply of donors is necessary to ensure the blood donor center has blood every day and I am thankful that they helped saved my life.”

Cindy will be hosting her group donation on Saturday, February 21 at the Bolthouse Donor Center from 9 am – 12 pm.

Charlie and JoslynnWeek four: Joslynn and Charlie Skelton
Joslynn Skelton and her husband Andrew were joyfully expecting their third daughter due July 1, 2014. However, unlike their first two children, this baby girl brought with her a whole new journey for their family — a journey full of fears and unknowns. At 22 weeks gestation, they were told that their daughter Charlotte “Charlie” Skelton had Hypo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome, meaning she was missing the left side of her heart and her aorta was completely closed off.
“Knowing that our little girl had a broken heart absolutely broke our hearts in turn,” recalls Joslynn, who since has learned that congenital heart disease kills more babies and children than all childhood cancers combined. She also learned that their child was not alone, since 1 in every 100 children is born with a congenital heart defect (CHD). Although the statistics were daunting, Andrew and Joslynn received a ray of hope knowing that through life-saving surgeries and treatments, Charlie would have a real chance to thrive. Charlie is the epitome of courage, determination and hope as she has survived two open heart surgeries, implantation of a pacemaker, numerous procedures in the catheterization laboratory, several blood transfusions and countless needle pokes.

Charlie’s latest open heart surgery was on December 5, 2014. During this operation her surgeons worked to reconfigure her heart to function in a way where her right side does all of the work. It will oxygenate the blood and pump it throughout her body. Charlie will have a minimum of one more surgery to complete this process, sometime between the ages of 2 and 4. “There are no words to explain what you go through as a parent when you watch your child literally fight to live,” says Joslynn Skelton. Joslynn and Andrew are thankful to all the blood donors who volunteer to give their lifesaving products. Between Charlie’s two open heart surgeries, she had received 4-5 units of blood along with 5 other blood transfusions.

The Skelton family soon became advocates for the heart community and took action to spread awareness; they truly embraced the heart community and life as a heart family.  “We all found our roles. Even our oldest daughter has taken action by starting a social media campaign to find a cure for Charlie, donating the proceeds to the American Heart Association”. They started a Facebook page documenting their journey as a heart family named “Hearts For Charlie” and one day they hope to see a cure for all children fighting CHD.

Charlie will be hosting her group donation on Saturday, February 28 at the Bolthouse Donor Center from 11 pm – 2 pm.

February is American Heart Month. Schedule a blood donation in honor of someone you know who has heart problems or other cardiac patients in need. Schedule Now. 



$100 a Day Fuel Prize in February




Thanks to an anonymous business sponsor, we have extra encouragement for donors to save lives during February.  Each day there will be a $100 fuel card drawing from among all donors at mobiles and at both donor centers.  To enter, just register to donate at any location.

We are always looking for business sponsors to help forward the cause of blood, platelet and plasma donation in Kern County.  Just give Community Development a call for more information at 661-616-2500 or info@hcbb.com. It’s just another way to join our team and help save lives!

Houchin Miracle Kathy Agapiou

We are starting a new program to connect our donors to people who have survived a variety of life threatening situations and illnesses thanks to blood donors.  We are calling these people our Houchin Miracles, and they want to thank the anonymous donors who provided the blood, platelets and plasma which helped save their lives.

Our first miracle is Kathy Agapiou of Tehachapi who has survived numerous heart surgeries and cancer with the help of blood products.  This video tells her story and allows her to say thanks.

We are looking for more patient stories to feature this year.  If you, or someone you know, might want to be recognized as a Houchin Miracle, please send an e-mail to info@hcbb.com with contact information and the basic story to share so we can follow-up with you.  We look forward to sharing these stories through social media and other means to help remind us all why we are here each day to provide lifesaving products to people we will never know.  Thanks for helping us put a face to the patients blood donation helps!