As the mosquito-borne Zika outbreak continues to gain momentum, we are taking extra precautions with our blood supply based on recommendations from the American Association of Blood Banks, AABB.
The Zika virus has spread in the western hemisphere in the past several months. The mosquito that spreads the disease is the same one that spreads the Dengue and Chikungunya viruses. Countries affected by Zika include Mexico and other countries in Central and South America, all the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, and a few Atlantic and Pacific islands (Cape Verde and Samoa). Donors who have traveled to affected areas are at risk of developing the Zika virus illness. It appears the Zika virus can be passed to patients through a blood transfusion and also through sexual activity. Donors must not donate for 28 days following their return from Zika affected countries.
There is no additional screening test for the Zika virus, but standard operating procedures require that donors must feel well on the day of the donation and report any recent out-of-country travel. As always, donors are encouraged to report any illness occurring in the days after a donation, so that it can be quarantined if there is a possibility they had an asymptomatic infection of any kind on the day of donation. For a complete list of travel destinations affected by the Zika virus in English click here. The Spanish version is available here.
The most up-to-date information on the Zika virus is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here. We will continue to update our donors as more information becomes available and appreciate your cooperation in ensuring a safe and adequate blood supply.
Nothing beats a healthy heart, so the American Heart Association – Kern County Chapter (AHA) is joining with us for our third 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. The Hearts United Blood Drive partnership between the two nonprofits highlights the need for blood every day to serve heart patients. In addition, one lucky blood donor will win a GO RED Basket. The basket will feature two tickets to the Go Red for Women Luncheon, Fashion Show and Conference on Friday, February 27 organized by our local AHA chapter, tote bag, GO RED Cookbook, and a bottle of red wine.
Kick off heart month with a blood donation on Saturday, February 6, 2016 at the Bolthouse Donor Center from 8 am to 2 pm. Representatives from the AHA as well as featured survivor of the month, little Charlie Skelton, will be attending to greet and meet blood donors. Charlie was a featured heart surgery survivor during our Hearts United Blood Drive in 2015, and her progress can be tracked at https://www.facebook.com/heartsforcharlie/
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.
After returning from a long winter break, our high school blood drives are back in full swing. High school students account for up to 20% of our local blood supply. Without their commitment to maintaining a safe and adequate blood supply, there would not be enough blood for our community, nor would we be engaging new generations of donors.
In an effort to thank our high school students for their hard work, the Kern County high school that receives the most credited donations will receive a custom trophy and other prizes from Kern Schools Federal Credit Union at the 2016 “Give It Up” High School Blood Drive Challenge Awards Luncheon. Kern Schools will also provide $250 scholarships to two specially chosen students who have achieved their 1 gallon milestone and become Gallon Grads.
Find out which school is leading the pack here.
With Valentine’s Day this month, love is in the air. February’s Executives’ Association of Kern County Monthly Donor Prize is a Sweetheart Package, sponsored by Tim Kounter, Placement Service Director with Bakersfield Senior Placement. This exciting donor prize is a complete gift from the heart for someone special featuring gift certificates for the following:
- $100 for dinner out at Cafe Med
- $100 with Massage by Karen
- $100 with Log Cabin Florist
- $200 gift card to Stockdale Jewelers
Wouldn’t that make for a great date with that special someone? All February donors will automatically be entered to win. The winner will be chosen in early March, so the gift could brighten an anniversary, birthday or other special occasion in the months ahead.
Bakersfield Senior Placement is a division of Interim HealthCare, a leading provider of home health, assisted care, and nurse staffing services in Kern County since 1994. Tim Kounter guides families through the maze of senior living options for Bakersfield and surrounding communities at no charge. Tim is also a dedicated donor who says, ” I see all the reasons that prohibit people from donating, and am thankful I am not disqualified for one reason or another. On rare occasion, when I see the pictures of near empty shelves of blood that Houchin posts, I pray no one is in need until that type is replenished.” Blood donation is a family affair at the Kounter house and it brings Tim a lot of joy to see his own children doing their part. Thank you for your dedication to our mission Tim and for the generous sponsorship for February.
One of the personal touches Tim brings to those he places is a red rose delivered to their new home. Below you will find photgraphs of many of these seniors enjoying Tim’s gift.
Wallace & Smith General Contractors are inviting their employees, subcontractors, suppliers and all who knew Jessica Ann Cooper to participate in the fourth annual Jessica Ann Cooper Memorial Blood Drive by donating blood at either donor center February, 25 and 26 and credit group code 970.
According to her father, Paul R. Cooper, Vice President, Wallace & Smith: “Jessica was a vibrant, talented and beautiful person both inside and out. With her kind heart and infectious smile she could lift anyone when they were feeling low. Sadly on February 28, 2002 her life was cut short and her vibrancy was dimmed too early. Although she is not with us, her memory lives on today through many stories from those whose life she touched. We have decided to honor her memory with the gift of life through a blood drive in her name. We ask that if she touched your life in one way or another, that you join us in giving the true gift of life at Houchin Community Blood Bank. Who knows whose life you may have an impact on, but we know that Jessica would be proud to see the good that is generated in her memory.”
Walk-ins are welcome at either donor center during the drive, but for an appointment call 661-616-2505 or click here.
California State University Bakersfield’s Athletic’s Department is once again sponsoring the annual CSUB Give n Go Blood Drive to celebrate another Division I Basketball season.
This year’s drive will be held from January 18th to 30th; all donors will receive a voucher to attend a basketball game at the Icardo Center on campus during the event. CSUB students and staff are encouraged to roll up their sleeves and make blood donation their New Year’s resolution. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to support our Runners!
As 2016 dawns, the need for blood is decreasing while the need for platelets and plasma is growing slightly nationwide. These changes are the result of new protocols for patient care. Collecting products by specific blood type is becoming very important to maintaining daily inventories based on need. The need is based solely on what hospitals request to save lives. To aid in this evolution in blood banking, we ask that donors know their blood type and respond to calls for specific products needed by their type. Making appointments to donate any product really helps us analyze what is coming in, so we can avoid collecting products that might expire before they reach a patient.
January has been celebrated as National Blood Donor Month since 1970, to recognize the importance of giving blood, platelets, and plasma while honoring those who roll up a sleeve to help patients in need. Donors are asked to share a selfie this month with the hashtag #americasgotblood on social media to participate in a national effort to applaud donors by Americas Blood Centers (ABC) and its partner blood centers like Houchin. Photos provided will be turned into a national collage at the end of January.
Blood donors can give every 56 days, but those who donate platelets and plasma through automated donation have the opportunity to help more people by giving more products more often. Platelet donors can give 24 times a year and plasma donors can give 12 times a year. Call us at 661-616-2505 for more information on giving blood, platelets, and plasma, to make an appointment or to inquire about your blood type. Thanks for being a donor!
Get a head start on your Valentine’s day dinner plans this month courtesy of the EAKC Monthly Drawing Prize for January. We thank to all our friends at the Executives’ Association of Kern County for once again sponsoring another year of great monthly drawing prizes with a winner every month! January’s prize is a Night on the Town, sponsored by Cathi Guerrero, Executive Director of EAKC, and EAKC’s official hotel, the Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center. The prize includes a one night stay at the Marriott with dinner, and welcome basket! This would be the perfect Valentine’s getaway with that special someone.
Cathi Guerrero has been the Executive Director of the 75 member EAKC since 1987. She is the principal of Black & Sterling Management, which also manages the Junior League Building in downtown Bakersfield. Cathi wanted to personally kick-off another year of EAKC Monthly Drawings with her own contribution. She is thrilled that member businesses will once again sponsor all twelve months of the 30/30 EAKC Monthly Drawing to help boost donations at Houchin Community Blood Bank.
The Bakersfield Marriott has helped the blood bank with many drives and promotions over the years. “The Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center applauds all of Houchin’s hard work and dedication. We are proud to support their efforts to save lives in our community” says Tony Zilobaf, General Manager.
Information on all the great prizes in the EAKC’s monthly drawing will be unveiled all year. Stay tuned!
Thanks to the generous support of the Executives’ Association of Kern County, or EAKC, every month in 2015 donors were entered to win a great prize valued at $500 or more. Thanks to these highly attractive prizes, donors looked forward to new monthly giveaways and more chances to win.
EAKC members offer quality goods and services throughout Bakersfield and Kern County. As an EAKC member, each business holds integrity, loyalty, and mutual respect in high regard. EAKC businesses are strong supporters of our mission. We truly appreciate the Executives’ Associaiton of Kern County’s continued support.
Take a look at last year’s winners:
Once again, EAKC will be sponsoring 12 months of donor prizes in 2016! First up, in January, donors can enter to win a Night Out on the Town, which includes a one night stay at the Bakersfield Marriott, breakfast, dinner, and a welcome basket courtesy of the Bakersfield Marriott and the Executives’ Association of Kern County Executive Director, Cathi Guerrero. Information on upcoming 2016 prizes will be coming soon!
Nurse Nicole shows off one of the Giant bikes in our donor drawing for January.
Blood donation can be a part of an ongoing healthy lifestyle. Not only do blood products save lives every day in hospitals county wide, but volunteer donors benefit from a “mini physical” they receive each time they donate. From the blood pressure check to the finger stick to the cholesterol results, each of these tests helps ensure a healthy person is donating for others.
In an effort to encourage blood donation during National Blood Donor Month, Kern Family Health Care, with the help of Finish Line Bicycles, is once again offering a great, health-enhancing donor prize as we Resolve to Get Fit and Save Lives together in January 2016. Throughout the month, all donors can enter to win one of TWO Giant brand bicycles, with one bicycle on display at each donor center!
According to CEO Doug Hayward: “Kern Family Health Care recognizes the importance of donating blood. As the largest health plan in Kern County, we know that our members rely on blood products being available when they are needed. We are proud to partner with Houchin Community Blood Bank to promote blood donations to ensure an adequate supply of blood and blood products in our community.” Kern Family Health Care is dedicated to improving the health status of its members through an integrated managed health care delivery system.
Finish Line Bicycles is dedicated to being a bicycle shop that carries the latest and finest in cycling products anywhere, as well as providing the highest quality of customer service possible. We are pleased to join with these organizations to celebrate our donors with this great month long prize drawing, which will provide a new way to increase health for TWO lucky donors.