Zika Testing to Begin


Beginning Thursday, September 15, 2016 we will begin testing all blood donations for the Zika Virus (ZIKV). The safety of our donors and the blood supply they generously provide is always our primary concern.

The ZIKV blood test will be performed along with the 13 other tests each donor’s blood sample undergoes every time they donate.  So, donors will not really notice any change as far as the donation itself goes. However, because this test on the blood sample is still in a clinical study stage, donors will receive an information sheet about the study, and now both 16 and 17 year old donors must bring in a signed parental consent form to be able to donate. This is required parental-consentbecause in California minors under 18 years old cannot consent to participate in clinical trials. Prior to September 15, 17 year olds were able to donate without a parent’s consent, but that is no longer the case. Minor donors will not be able to donate unless they present the proper form provided below. 

The required parental consent forms and educational materials are available here in English and in Spanish. Parents should read the material and send a signed copy in with minors presenting to donate.

Travel to ZIKV affected areas will no longer require a wait period once the testing begins.  Donors whose blood tests positive for ZIKV will be notified with follow-up instructions. If you have any questions regarding ZIKV blood testing, please call 661-323-4222.

En Español:

A partir del viernes 15 de Septiembre de, 2016 se comenzará a probar todas las donaciones de sangre para asegurarse que no provengan con el virus del Zika (ZIKV). La seguridad de nuestros donantes y el suministro de sangre que generosamente ofrecen es siempre nuestra preocupación principal.


El análisis de sangre ZIKV se llevará a cabo junto con las otras 13 pruebas que se le proporcionan a cada muestra de sangre cada vez que donan. Por lo tanto, los donantes realmente no notarán ningún cambio en cuanto a la donación. Sin embargo, debido a que este análisis todavía se encuentra en la fase de pruebas, los donantes recibirán una hoja de información sobre el ensayo clínico en curso en la prueba ZIKV.  Los donantes de 16 y  17 años de edad, ahora tendrán que llevar  un formulario de consentimiento firmado por los padres para poder ser elegibles para donar. Esto se debe al que todavía son menores de 18 años y entonces no pueden dar su propio consentimiento mediante un análisis de sangre que se encuentre en proceso de ensayo clínico. Los menores de edad no podrán donar al menos que presenten el formulario apropiado que se encuentra abajo.

Los nuevos formularios de consentimiento de los padres y los materiales educativos están disponibles aquí en Inglés y en Español.

Las restricciones de viaje asociadas con ZIKV ya no estarán en práctica una vez que comience la prueba. Si tiene alguna pregunta con respecto a las pruebas de sangre ZIKV, por favor llame al 661-323-4222.

Farewell to Sickle Cell Blood Drive

On Saturday, September 10, 2016 Houchin Community Blood Bank will host a blood drive from 8 am to 2 pm at the Bolthouse Donor Center in conjunction with the Hina Patel Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease, to honor Hina Patel, a young woman who lost her life to sickle cell disease. Her story and the registration information for the event can be found at www.HinaPatelFoundation.org.

Sickle Cell disease is the most common genetic disease in the United States. It affects more that 100,000 people in the nation. It originated in Africa, but the disease especially affects people with ancestors from Africa, India, Central and South America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Mediterranean nations like Italy, Greece, France and Turkey.

sickle_cellSickle cell disease is a genetically inherited blood disorder that is caused by a mutation in the gene that makes hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the molecule in red blood cells that assists in the transportation of oxygen through the body. This recessive mutation causes red blood cells to become hard, sticky, and “sickle” shaped instead of the normal smooth, round shape. Consequently, blood has difficulty flowing through the capillary system. These misshaped cells form clumps and block blood vessels causing circulation problems leading to severe pain, damage to blood vessels and organs, and in some cases, death. The median life expectancy for men with sickle cell disease is 40 years and for women it is 45 years.

Christina has sickle cell disease and needs blood transfusions provided by our donors regularly.

There is no cure for Sickle Cell disease, but there are treatments. One of the most common treatments is regular blood transfusions, which can help decrease the risks of stroke, damage to major organs, and other severe complications. Since this disease does occur more frequently in people of certain ethnic backgrounds, blood typing for transfusions is very important. When patients receive blood transfusions from donors with the same blood type and antigens, they tend to have a better chance of survival.

Sickle Cell Awareness MonthWe encourage participation in this important educational event, so that more members of our community are aware of the devastating effects of the disease and the need for a diverse donor base. Sickle Cell patients depend on people like you to provide the consistent blood transfusions necessary in their fight to live, so please join us and the Hina Patel Foundation on September 10, 2016 to help bid “Farewell to Sickle Cell” by participating in the fair, the walk/run, or the blood drive at our Bolthouse Donor Center.

9th Annual Fair Wristband Drive

wristbandThanks to our returning sponsor, Le Beau-Thelen LLP, the fair wristband blood drive is back. Giving Blood is the Fairest Thing to Do is the theme of the week, and from Monday, September 12th through Friday, September 16th at the donor centers only, donors can enter to win coupons which are good for a carnival ride wristband, as well as an adult pass to the 100th Anniversary Kern County Fair. The fair runs from September 21st – October 2nd, 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 prize by September 21st or forfeit their prize.

Le BeLe Beau-Thelen LLP 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.

Week of Remembrance 2016

911 AnniversarySeptember 11, 2016 marks the 15th anniversary of tragic loss and sadness for the United States. To honor the memory and sacrifice of the victims and first responders, we set the week prior to September 11 each year as our Week of Remembrance. Since we are closed on Sundays, we will not be collecting blood on September 11 this year, however we encourage participation from September 6 – 10, 2016. Please consider getting started with donation, reconfirming your commitment to donation, or donating in honor of the first responders who serve us all every day. 

People who donate during the week will be entered to win a $100 Target Gift Card sponsored by Alert Disaster Restoration. All donors will receive a free Route 44 soft drink coupon with their donation, complements of Sonic. Every donor on Saturday, September 10, will also receive a 9/11 commemorative pin thanks to the generosity of John Rodgers, Wells Fargo Advisors.  

Blood on shelfSeptember 11, 2001 started off as a normal day at Houchin, but as the attack on our nation began to unfold, a shocked public eager to help lined up to donate blood.  As this scene played out across the nation, more blood was collected than was ultimately needed. Now blood banks stress that the blood on the shelves is what saves lives. People need to commit to give regularly so that a tested and ready supply is available at all times. 

When you think about it, blood donors are part of the first responder team in any emergency requiring blood products.  We never know when blood, platelets or plasma will be needed, so we must stay ready for the call, just like any other first responder.

Girls’ Story Inspires Blood and Platelet Drive

Amanda and AbigailShawna Callahan believes in supporting those fighting cancer, so No One Fights Alone, the organization she and husband Dwayne started after her uncle, Robert McCaslin, was diagnosed with cancer, will provide support to two two young ladies fighting brain tumors, Amanda Broome, on the left, and little Abigail Segundo.

Abigail’s story was recently featured in The Bakersfield Californian, and is available here.

To raise support funds for Abigail and Amanda, the 3rd Annual No One Fights Alone Poker Run will be held Sunday, November 6, 2016. A flyer about the Poker Run can be printed out here. The first Poker Run was organized by family and friends to provide support for Uncle Robert, and proved so successful, that it has been expanded, and offered help to other patients each year since.

Blood products save livesTo raise emotional support and encourage blood and platelet donations for survivors like Abigail and Amanda, a blood drive will be held on Saturday, September 24 from 8 am to 2 pm at the Truxtun Donor Center. In addition, an effort to increase platelet collection in honor of these crusaders will be held at both donor centers all week leading up to the blood drive, and through September 30th. Use the No One Fights Alone Account Code 929 to donate in honor of Abigail and Amanda.

It is crucial that more people become platelet donors to keep up with increased need for this blood product which is needed to aid patients in their fight against terrible diseases like cancer. The need for platelets locally has doubled this year, and many donors we have counted on can no longer give or have moved away.  It is not uncommon for 3 to 5 local hospitals or cancer centers to call for platelets at once. We appreciate the opportunity to draw attention to this growing problem, and hope it will bring in needed new donors. Those who join our Gold Club in September by providing a first time donation of platelets or plasma, will be entered to win a night on the town for two including movie tickets, dinner and dessert. It’s just an extra way to say thanks for giving trima, our automated donation system, a try this month. Cancer, trauma and other patients who receive your golden products will be truly grateful for the gift of life.

High School Blood Drive Challenge Kicks Off!

Bakersfield Christian High School

The 2016 – 2017 High School Blood Drive Challenge is off to a promising start, with energized meetings with our Houchin Ambassadors underway, so students can begin organizing this year’s blood drives.

Unfortunately, we can’t 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.

Burroughs High School

Burroughs High School – Ridgecrest

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 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 2017. So we hope all the schools will “up their game” to try to come out on top!

Recycle Life and Save Lives

Kern Schools LogoBlood products are the ultimate renewable resource, so Kern Schools Federal Credit Union is sponsoring a Recycle Life Blood Drive, kicking off on Saturday, September 24 with their annual Kern Schools Community Recycling Day from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm, at 15000 Bolthouse Drive, across from our Bolthouse Donor Center.  Blood will be collected that day at both donor centers from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. The Recycle Life Blood Drive will continue for a week at both donor centers, through Saturday, October 1st. Thanks to Kern Schools, donors during the drive can enter to win a Four Pack of One-Day Park Hopper tickets to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park good through December 31, 2016!

Recycle LifeVolunteer blood donors are stewards of the precious natural resources they possess: blood, platelets and plasma. Donating blood products can be a great opportunity to practice the three Rs: Reduce (the need for blood), Reuse (what you’ve got) and Recycle (what you can). Much like conventional recycling, it’s easy to do and can have far-reaching benefits. When it comes to recycling, donating blood is one of the best things you can do in one hour! We appreciate Kern Schools partnering with us on this blood drive in conjunction with their Community Recycling Day.

Disney Park Hopper Passes provide admission to both Disneyland and California Adventure in one day.  Kern Schools is your discounted amusement park headquarters, and you can find out about what tickets they offer here. Details on the annual Kern Schools Community Recycling Day and what will be accepted is found below.




Condors Suite Prize for September

Condors vs StocktonIt’s almost hockey season in CondorsTown, so the Executives’ Association of Kern County Monthly Prize for September is exclusive use of a suite for 12-18 people during the opening days of the new Condors season in October or November. The Bakersfield Condors will host the Stockton Heat on Dignity Health Home Ice at Rabobank Arena in preseason action on Saturday, October 8 at 7 p.m. The Condors home opener will be Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. The exact suite is subject to availability based on the game chosen, but there are a number of great suite options.

Condors LogoCondors hockey offers exciting American Hockey League action at every game. The Condors are the top development team of the Edmonton Oilers, with the very best prospects playing right here in Bakersfield. Stats from last season include:

  • Final record: 31-28-7-2, 5th place, Pacific Division
  • Condors to play in the NHL: 17
  • Number of 1st round draft picks to play in Bakersfield: 5
  • Largest crowd: 8,212 on Nov. 28

Condors CommunityThe Condors have established deep roots in the community. A Wounded Hero is honored at every home game, provide game experiences for at risk youth, and offer programs that reward good attendance and grades for students. The Condors have raised over $5 million in cash, goods and services over the team’s history. The organization is part of the fabric of our community, with mascots and players participating in events throughout the year.

Visit one of our donor centers or mobile drives in September to enter to enter to win your very own AHL hockey party, and cheer on the Bakersfield Condors as they continue to make their mark on the AHL. For an updated Condors game schedule click here.

Missing Type Campaign

Every second three people across the world receive a life changing blood transfusion. For this reason, Houchin Community Blood Bank is uniting with blood donor organizations across 21 countries for the Missing Type Campaign. The campaign will run from August 16-21, 2016. It highlights an almost 30% drop in people becoming blood donors compared to a decade ago worldwide. Reversing this trend is crucial to meeting daily patient needs.

Pint for a Pass Missing TypeThroughout the campaign, the letters of the main blood groups, As, Bs and Os, will disappear in everyday and iconic locations around the world.  Kern County businesses and personalities are welcome to join in all week by removing these letters from their brand or name and posting it online with #MissingType through Sunday, August 21, 2016.

2016KernCountyFairlogoThe Kern County Fair is celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2016 by kicking off the annual Pint for a Pass Blood Drive this week, and is providing a free admission pass to each donor. Donors at both Bakersfield donor centers and at the following mobile drives will receive the fair admission pass and have the opportunity to take a photo of themselves for posting on social media with a #MissingType sign to show solidarity with this international campaign.

  • Tuesday, August 16           Tehachapi Community                    12 noon – 6:00 pm        Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 329 South Mill Street, Tehachapi
  • Wednesday, August 17      Ridgecrest Community                   12 noon – 6:00 pm        Kerr McGee Center, 100 W. California, Ridgecrest
  • Thursday, August 18           Delano Regional Medical              11:15 am – 4:00 pm     1401 Garces Highway, Delano
  • Friday, August 19                Home Depot – Gosford                    9:00 am – 1:00 pm  4700 Gosford Road, Bakersfield
  • Saturday, August 20           Milan Institute                                  10:00 am – 2:00 pm  2822 F Street, Bakersfield
  • Sunday, August 21             St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church     8:30 am – 12 noon 12300 Reina Road, Bakersfield

Hours at the Bakersfield Donor Centers are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9 am to 6 pm, Thursday 11 am to 7 pm, and Saturday 8 am to 2 pm. The Truxtun Donor Center is located at 5901 Truxtun Avenue, and the Bolthouse Donor Center is at 11515 Bolthouse Drive.

Missing type 3In Kern County there is a particular ongoing need for O+ and O- blood donors, and donors of any blood type for platelet donations.  Donors who do not know their blood type are always welcome. New donors will receive a donor card with their blood type and additional information about what patients most need from them after their first donation.

The Missing Type Campaign, was first held in England and North Wales by NHS Blood and Transplant last year, but has expanded for 2016 to bring together 25 blood services from 21 countries covering one billion of the world’s population. Each blood service is calling for new donors to ensure blood donation for present and future generations.

According to recent research by blood collection services worldwide, key barriers to people becoming donors include:

  • increasing urbanization
  • wider and more exotic travel
  • people have less time to give in an increasingly busy and digital world
  • lack of awareness about the need for more diverse blood donors
  • a rise in the popularity of tattoos

GapsAccording to Carola Enriquez, Director of Community Development at Houchin Community Blood Bank: “We really hope that people living in Kern County will be inspired by the international Missing Type Campaign to start saving lives by becoming blood donors. Blood transfusions save lives and transform health for millions across the world, and right here at home. Patients are dependent on people donating blood, platelets and plasma every day. Whether it is platelets for chemotherapy patients, red cells for blood disorders or burns, plasma to stop bleeding, or a combination of all three to stop bleeding in traumas, blood products are an absolutely essential part of modern healthcare.”

To donate blood you must be 17 years of age, in good health, and weigh 110 pounds. 16 year olds can donate with parental consent.

To learn more about the blood donation process, visit this page or call 661-323-4222. The public can also support the Missing Type Campaign on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #MissingType. For more information call 661-616-2500.

Erskine Fire Thanks

We received the lovely thank you note below from the First Baptist Church of Lake Isabella for the goods we collected and sent their way in the aftermath of the Erskine Fire. Diapers, hygiene items, snacks, camping equipment, clothes, shoes, pet food, books and games were just some of the goods collected and delivered to the church which was on the front line serving evacuees.  We had to cancel our June 28th drive there because all church spaces were completely full of well-organized supplies to serve resident needs.

We look forward to being back for the Lake Isabella Community Blood Drive on August 23rd from 12 noon to 6:00 pm. Thank you to all who donated goods for the fire survivors!