May Donor Michaela Sims

Miss Bakersfield 2016 Brooke Oscarson, Joslynn Skelton with daughter Charlie, and Mrs. Bakersfield 2016 Michaela Sims participating in a February blood drive honoring Baby Charlie.

In late 2013, Michaela Sims found herself sitting next to Joslynn Jarrett-Skelton, who, like herself, was pregnant with a little girl. Joslynn’s excitment did not match her own, because she had recently learned that her unborn little girl had Hypo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome. When Joslynn shared her story with Michaela, It changed her world as a future mother and blood donor.

Michaela had always been encouraged by her mother, a 4 Gallon Donor, to donate, but her fear of needles prevented her from making the leap. With some encouragement, she finally rolled up her sleeve and donated in 2011 at the Bakersfield Police Department Blood Drive. After her first donation, Michaela learned that she was O negative, CMV negative, which meant she was the universal blood donor and her blood could also be given to newborn babies. This discovery changed the way Michaela viewed blood donation, especially after the birth of Charlie Skeleton and her own child, Cecilia Sims.

11707628_10155885833580220_860721853230752023_nMichaela closely follows Charlie’s journey and recently donated during the American Heart Association Hearts United Blood drive. When asked why she continues to donate, Michaela thinks back to Joslynn and her daughter, Charlie Skeleton. She hopes that her simple donation can make a difference in the lives of patients like Charlie. As the universal blood donor, Michaela makes an effort to donate every 8 weeks in order to ensure patients, like baby Charlie, will always have an adequate blood supply. To people who have not donated before, Michaela asks that they picture themselves in the shoes of patients in need of blood products or in the families of sick children, parents, and other loved ones. If a few minutes of your time, could save someone’s life, why not? When the time comes, Michaela hopes her own daughter will follow her lead and give blood donation a try.

In her spare time, Michaela enjoys scrapbooking, yarning, teaching fitness classes at In-Shape and Total Woman, volunteering, and spending time with her 2-year-old daughter. She is also the reigning Mrs. Bakersfield for 2016.

Gear Up For Summer with EAKC

30551PR_SS_120709SummerMoneyWith the last days of the school year upon us, summer vacation is on everyone’s mind. Let us help you prepare for your next beach trip. Just visit a donor center or mobile drive during May to automatically be entered to win the Executives’ Association of Kern County Monthly Drawing for $500 cash, sponsored by Mahalo Pool Care and Alcorn Aire, Inc!

Mahalo Pool Care is a professional and reliable pool service company. This family 6430mahalo_logoowned business is completely in tune with pool owner needs and concerns. Mahalo knows that besides the wish for a crystal clear pool, their customers want a healthy and enjoyable environment for their families. Owner Erik Straub is a trima donor who really appreciates each donor’s time in the chair.

AlcornAireLogosizedAlcorn Aire, Inc. is a family owned and operated company providing heating and air conditioning sales, service, and support for business and residential buildings. Alcorn’s primary goal  is to provide clients with a healthy indoor environment, comfort, safety and energy efficiency through their heating and air conditioning services. They stand behind the quality service of their skilled technicians, and they know their customers will be satisfied with their service. Alcorn is proud to support blood donation in our community.

Mahalo Pool Care  and Alcorn Aire, Inc have been strong supporters of Houchin Community Blood Bank and our community, and we thank them for making May’s EAKC Monthly Prize possible!

Kern’s Big Give on May 3

Logowebsite Give Big KernHouchin is one of 124 participating organizations in the Give Big Kern event on May 3, 2016. We seek donations of blood, platelets and plasma that day. There is no need to sign-up on-line,  just come on in for a whole blood donation or click here to request that we save you a chair for plasma and platelet donations.

Kristen Barnes, president and CEO of the Kern Community Foundation, which is organizing Give Big Kern says the event is not all about money, it’s Donor thumbs upalso about raising awareness of nonprofits operating locally and engaging the community to volunteer with those organizations.

“Obviously we want to encourage people to donate, but it was really critical to me that we not just be about the money, but also engage people with volunteerism. There’s really no reason for anybody to say they can’t do Give Big Kern. You can give dollars, or you can do hours,” according to Barnes.

Give Big KernThe one-day Give Big Kern donation extravaganza is Kern County’s first foray into a movement of single-day give-a-thon style events sweeping the country, that uses the internet and social media as the organizational tools instead of television. During the event, we hope to see many more donors than usual that day at both donor centers and in Kern River Valley from noon to 6 pm at the First Baptist Church of Lake Isabella. For our social media savvy donors, be sure to use #givebigkern with your posts that day to be part of this county-wide event.

 

 

Celebrate Freedom Week

Flag eagleFrom Saturday, May 21st through Saturday, May 28th, 2016 donors will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite branch of the Armed Services during Freedom Week, our annual week-long celebration of our military. One lucky donor will win the Freedom Week Flyaway, a $2,000 travel voucher to a destination of your choice! The trip is sponsored by Setton Farms, the local producer of “America’s Best Tasting Pistachios”.

Freedom week 2Donors can enjoy a free kick-off BBQ on Saturday, May 21st from 10 am to 2 pm, sponsored by the Bread of Life BBQ Ministry at the Truxtun Donor Center. We hope to see both regular and new volunteers in to donate throughout Freedom Week to celebrate the men and women who serve, or have served, our country in the military. What a great way to recognize a veteran as well as personally serve our community between Armed Forces day and Memorial Day each year!

Setton Farms - America's Favorite Pistachios - California PistachiosWe appreciate the ongoing support of Setton Farms for our Freedom Week Blood DriveSetton Farms learned long ago that producing the best pistachio nuts starts with the growing process. Their orchards follow the most strict cultivation standards and maintain one of the most sophisticated food safety programs. As a family owned and operated pistachio company since the mid 1980s, they attend to each detail of the pistachio growing process. Setton Farms’ continuous improvement and perfection of that growing process has made them the industry leader in the development of this important local crop. We appreciate their ongoing recognition of the valuable contributions of our local blood, platelet and plasma donors through the sponsorship of our annual Freedom Week by sponsoring this fabulous donor prize drawing.

Local Battle of the Bay Heats Up

IMG_20160428_154411 (1)The Bakersfield Black Hole Raiders Club is organizing their 4th annual blood drive along with the Kern County Niner Empire, Bakersfield Raider Booster Club, and Thee Empire Faithful SF 49er Booster Club. We call it Kern County’s Battle of The Bay Blood Drive. These clubs are all coming together for a common goal: to save lives in their community! Support your favorite football team by donating blood, platelets or plasma, beginning Thursday, May 5 through Saturday, May 7, 2016. Donate during the drive and you’ll be entered to win a Char-Griller with two bags of Kingsford Charcoal! Or, you can socialize and save lives with other Raider and 49er fanatics at the kick-off social event on Thursday, May 5 at the Truxtun Donor Center, 5901 Truxtun Avenue, from 4-7 pm.

Battle BayPaul Ocampo, President of The Bakersfield Black Hole Raiders Club, wanted their club to organize this fourth annual 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.

There will be a Tailgate Party at the Truxtun Donor Center on Saturday, May 7th 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 brand new Char-Griller! 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.

Battle 2014

Kern County’s Battle of the Bay Tailgate Party in 2014

Summer Pledge Drive 2016

The third annual Summer Pledge Drive takes place from May 1 to September 30, 2016. Donors can enter to win exclusive prizes all summer long.  Cash and prizes of all kinds will be added throughout the drive.  Check back regularly for updates to the list below and to see who has won!

Sonic-logoSonic Drive-In is helping us kick off the Summer Pledge Drive by offering a coupon for a free Route 44 drink to everyone taking the pledge while supplies last!

If your business, club or organization would like to provide a prize for the Summer Pledge Drive, contact Community Development at 661-616-2500 or info@hcbb.com. There is plenty of time to get involved!

The first drawing for $100 cash will be held on May 9th, so be sure to donate and pledge today.  Each donation visit counts as one entry for the Summer Pledge Drive drawings, so be sure to maximize your entries by coming in regularly during the summer when the need for blood, platelets and plasma does not take a vacation. A blood donor can donate three times during that period, and a platelet or plasma donor could get in many more entries. Pledge here or when you donate!

     Prize                                                                Drawing  Date          Sponsor

  • $100 Cash                                                  May 9                          Houchin Friend
  • $25 Bath and Body Works Gift Card      May 12                        Houchin Friend
  • 2 Sequoia Sandwiches                             May 17                        Houchin
  • $50 Visa Gift Card                                     May 28                        Kern Schools
  • $50 Visa Gift Card                                    July 23                         Kern Schools
  • Grand Prize Lap Top Computer             September 30             Houchin

NEW PRIZES WILL BE ADDED SO CHECK BACK TO SEE WHAT IS NEW! 

Urgent Blood Need

Because of higher than usual need for O+ and O- red cells, we have not had full shelves of those blood types since December 2015.  Use in extreme traumas is up 5%, and the needs of cancer patients are up a staggering 35%! It’s no wonder we are unable to keep our O shelves more than half full.

Unfortunately we see almost empty shelves too often. Orders from our hospitals and transfusion centers have required so many units all at once that we’ve had to turn twice to other blood banks outside Kern County to meet the need just since January.  To avoid this frightening situation, we must find more willing O type blood donors to join our team, and be successful in encouraging current O type donors to come in more often.

Os we need youIf you have O type blood, please come in to save lives by donating a pint, then make a repeat appointment to come back in 8 weeks.  We will call to remind you of your appointment, and you can always cancel if plans change. Booking that next appointment is an easy way to know when you are eligible so you can better plan that all important visit!

If you know anyone who is O+ or O-, please tell them about our ongoing need for their help. The number one reason people say they donate blood is because someone asked them to, so consider this our request.  A robust, safe and ready blood supply depends on all of us. Thanks for your help!

 

April is a Rusty’s Pizza Month

Rusty's GirlRusty’s Pizza is a long time supporter of blood donation in our community. Our friends at Rusty’s provide coupons for a free individual cheese or pepperoni pizza to each donor in the months of January, April, July, and October each year. The coupons are good at any of Rusty’s nine convenient locations.This is an amazing commitment to recognizing our blood donors unmatched in the industry.

Rustys-LogoSince its beginning, Rusty’s has been involved in the community with a strong emphasis on children through school programs and youth organizations. Student blood donors also get the individual pizza coupons at school blood drives all year. We appreciate Rusty’s sense of community and support of blood donation. Thank you Rusty’s Pizza!

2016 Gold Club Dinner

Gold Club Dinner

Invitees and their guests enjoy the annual Gold Club Dinner at Hodel’s.

The 2016 Gold Club Dinner was held at Hodel’s on Saturday March 19th. Two hundred and fifty donors gave gold products on our trima machines at least 6 times in 2015 for an invitation for themselves and a guest to the dinner. A list of these frequent Gold Club donors appeared in the Bakersfield Californian on March 18, 2016 as provided here.

After the generous buffet, President and CEO, Greg Gallion provided those present with Houchin’s year in review.  Greg was joined by Patrick Clary, Materials and Blood Inventory Manager, who discussed our commitment to avoiding outdating any products.

Bob and Tennie Pomroy

Bob and Tennie Pomroy were the guest speakers sharing his fight against cancer.

They were followed by a heartfelt keynote address by Bob Pomroy and his wife Tennie. Tracy Hunter, Community Development Account Manager, introduced the couple, and told how Bob’s request to be squeezed in for a platelet appointment showed him to have a seriously low platelet count which ultimately lead to months of very difficult, but ultimately successful, treatments for a rare form of leukemia.

Bob and Tennie credit the early detection made possible by the pre-screening at Houchin; Bob’s excellent local treatment which required many blood products; and their faith, for seeing him through to remission. They thanked all the donors present for the gifts of life that Bob received, and for their ongoing service to other patients.

Gold Club Winner

Daniel Reed and his wife enjoyed the dinner, especially when he was chosen winner of a special prize.

Gold Club members can enter a special drawing each time they donate for a $50 monthly prize. Those entry tickets were saved all year, and 10 selected for a special drawing. The pre-selected donors were asked to stand while the one winning name was drawn. Daniel Reed ran happily to the stage to collect his one-of-a kind Gold Club cooler and $50 BevMo gift card.

Gary and Greg

Gary Ketchell was recognized by President and CEO Greg Gallion for his 1000 Gold Club achievement in 2015.

 

 

Greg Gallion, recognized Gary Ketchell for being the first to reach the 1000 platelet/plasma donation mark. Gary was presented with a unique Gold Club jacket and travel case marking this momentous achievement, as well as a $100 gift card to his favorite restaurant.  Gary’s son works for Arnold Schwarzenegger, who sent a cell phone video of congratulations available here.

Prize drawings ended the evening, and each guest took home pistachios provided by Gary Ketchell, and Rold Gold pretzels compliments of Gold Club Member Mike Mayo and Frito Lay. The embroidered awards were provided compliments of Wall Street Imprintables. Terumo BCT was recognized for a cash contribution to the evening, and the following businesses were recognized for providing monthly Gold Club prizes in 2015:

  • Cruz Thru Express Car Wash
  • Stanley Black & Decker
  • The Home Depot
  • McDonald’s
  • BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
  • Firehouse
  • Hodel’s

You can access more photographs of the Gold Club Dinner at our Facebook Album.

For information on how you can attend the 2016 Gold Club Dinner, call Peggy Smith at 661-616-2540.

Batter Up For Blood

bloodHit a home run with Houchin! We are partnering with the  Bakersfield Blaze for the Batter Up For Blood Drive beginning Thursday, April 21st through Sunday, April 30th. Donate at either donor center or mobile drive to receive a buy one, get one free voucher for a Bakersfield Blaze home game, not including July 4th and playoff games. At the end of the drive, one lucky donor will win a signed team jersey AND throw out the first pitch at a home game during the 2016 season! So step up to the plate, roll up your sleeve, and don’t miss out on a chance to support patients in our hospitals and the hometown team.

Bakersfield_75AnniversaryLogo_dropshadowThe Bakersfield Blaze is a charter member of the California League, celebrating its 75th year in 2016. The Bakersfield franchise is rich in baseball tradition. Currently known as the “Blaze” and affiliated with the Seattle Mariners, Bakersfield has seen great players pass through, including two Hall of Famers in Don Drysdale and Pedro Martinez. Sam Lynn Ballpark is best known for being built backwards, and the short outfield dimensions, with a 354-12745913_1182392715112907_2007850424098277646_nfoot center field ranking the shallowest in all of affiliated professional baseball. The Bakersfield Blaze are strong supporters of the Bakersfield Community and offer a number of fundraising opportunities for all organizations. We extend a big thank you to the Blaze for rewarding our donors for their life saving donations with a night at the ball park!