April Donor: Cheryl Isaac

Cheryl Isaac became a blood donor 19 years ago. Her husband, then boyfriend, was a regular donor so one day she decided to give it a go and donate with him. Cheryl and her husband made a date out of their donation day. They donated together every eight weeks and would conclude the evening by getting a milkshake. Who would think being a blood donor could be so romantic?

Today, Cheryl continues to donate, however she now donates platelets and plasma. Our telerecruiting department can always count on her to come in to donate when an urgent need is present. Cheryl loves her community and wishes to help others, especially those in greatest need. She says, “It is nice to be able to do something for your community.  Sometimes you feel helpless when you can’t help those suffering but this is one way you can. It takes a little bit more time, but it’s worth it because the sickest people benefit from it.”

Cheryl was one of the attendees of this year’s Gold Club Dinner, meaning she donated platelets more than 6 times last year. She actually donated 13 times! She encourages others to strive to reach 6 donations in 2017 to be invited to the next platelet dinner with a guest. Every year a platelet recipient tells the story of their survival thanks to their donations. Cheryl says, “The dinner is great because you get to put faces to people who receive the products you donated.”

Thank you Cheryl for being a noble human being and for giving up your time and cells to save the lives of others. For this and more, you are deserving of being donor of the month!


Cruise By to Save a Life in April

April’s Executives’ Association of Kern County donor prize is a three-night Royal Caribbean Cruise for two, thanks to Explorer Travel and Tours.  The cruise sets sail from Miami, Florida with stops in Nassau and Coco Cay. a Royal Caribbean private beach.  Although the prize does not include airfare, the winner can arrange that at a reasonable price through Explorer Travel and Tours, by working with owner Leland Davis. See additional details below.

Leland Davis is a Professional Firefighter and his wife is a College Professor, together they operate their business which offers advice and expertise in arranging all areas of travel. They specialize in leading and organizing group trips for corporate travel, families, schools, clubs, and churches. They have organized trips to Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, South Pacific, and North America.

According to Leland: “We love to explore new destinations and it is our pleasure to assist clients in planning all their travel adventures. We are a full service travel and tour agency that researches, plans, and organizes every detail to your specifications. We love to help charity and relief groups in addition to our other services.”  Leland is a regular blood donor close to reaching the 4 gallon mark. He shares: “My mother-in-law passed away from complications due to leukemia and was required to receive regular blood transfusions. As a firefighter we see daily the need of blood donations to help support burn victims and victims of traumatic accidents. The most common excuse I hear for not donating is that it hurts, well I will tell you it takes me about 20 – 30 mins and it is easy and you always have some neat snacks to enjoy after donating.”

Leland is proud to represent the travel industry in the Executives’ Association of Kern County and would be happy to hear from anyone wanting to know more about travel. Contact him at 661-374-4577, or info@xplrtravel.com.

Additional cruise information: This cruise is a 3 day lead in category to the Bahamas out of Miami, Florida with stops in Nassau and Cococay, a Royal Caribbean private beach but. The winner can use the credit towards any Royal Caribbean Cruise of the winners choosing.  Winners are responsible for air travel, any additional port fees, and taxes. Other charges may apply depending on the dates of travel.  Travel must occur within a time as provided by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Winner must possess or obtain a passport to travel outside the United States. Clients will be required to purchase travel protection or sign a release waiver. Explorer Travel and Tours is a travel agency licensed to sell travel and is not affiliated with Royal Caribbean.


Brayden’s Wait for a Heart Continues

Brayden waits for a new heart

April is National Donate Life Awareness Month, a time to focus on the ongoing need for organ and bone marrow donations. Transplant procedures require a great deal of blood products, and although they are not done in Kern County, Kern County citizens benefit from them regularly. One local boy waiting for a transplant is 9 year old Brayden, who desperately needs a new heart.

Brayden has been waiting more than three years for a heart transplant. You can recognize his ongoing fight for life by donating blood products this month in honor of Brayden using Account Code 616.

Brayden stopped eating and was turning blue just days after he was born on December 1, 2007. It was determined he would need heart surgery because the main artery leaving his heart, the aorta, was not opening fully, restricting blood flow to his body. Brayden had his first heart surgery on December 12.  A second surgery was needed on January 28, 2010, when Brayden was two. Unfortunately, although the procedure itself went well, Brayden’s lungs “just could not handle the new way his heart was working and he crashed” according to his mother, Brenda. “We lost him for a reported eight minutes, and he had to be placed on life support”, she says. However, the machine that was supposed to act as his heart and lungs also caused bleeding. Brayden was losing significant amounts of blood hour after hour. After 105 units of blood products, weeks upon weeks in ICU and the hospital recovering, and untold infections and setbacks, Brayden finally made it home.  He “had to learn to live life again” his mother says.  “He could not walk, talk, eat, sit up on his own, he couldn’t even move his fingers. . . He was on 14 medications, oxygen 24/7, and had physical, occupational, and speech therapy three times a week.”

Although Brayden’s heart is very enlarged, and he needs a feeding tube and many medicines, he has been able to enjoy school irregularly over the years, as well as trips to the beach, Disneyland and other family loved destinations. The family is waiting for the call that a heart is available for Brayden, yet so sad the call that might mean more life for Brayden means another family will have lost a child. The best way to keep up with the family’s daily rollercoaster life is to read about it at Brayden’s Brave Heart.  Videos of Braden and updates on the wait are always available there.

Pink DotIf you have not signed up for a Pink Dot on your license signifying intention to be an organ donor you can do so here. You can find our more about joining the bone marrow registry here.

Thanks for your support of Brayden this month!

Tell Us Your Story

People 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. Do you have a story to share about why you donate or about someone you know who has benefited by blood, platelet or plasma donations? If so, we’d love to hear from you.

Look for story forms in the donor canteens, or fill in the form provided below.

Story quoteWe are particularly interested in patient stories, but also want  to know:

  • What drives you to donate?
  • Did our screening process help you uncover a health issue?
  • Did you or someone close to you receive blood, platelets, or plasma?

We would love to hear your story, and share it if possible.  Names can be withheld if you prefer.  Your story or testimonial just might inspire someone to donate for the first time!

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