Accident Survivor Thanks Donors

Emma Gillian had just turned 15 and was coming home from softball when she was hit by a truck as she was crossing a street. She flew so far and hard, that her cleats flew off her feet. She was rushed to Kern Medical Center, now Kern Medical, and was placed into a medically induced coma.

Emma’s pelvis was shattered in 7 different places, plus she had 7 broken ribs, a lacerated liver, a deflated lung, and a hernia. With just the pelvic injury alone, her chances of survival dropped drastically. It wasn’t till three days later that she woke up to find she had survived, thanks in large part to donated blood.

Friends and family and people she didn’t even know got together and had multiple blood drives where they donated specifically for Emma.  Emma says: “I would love to have the chance to thank each of them individually, but that may never happen. To whoever is reading this though, thank you for giving blood. Because of you someone like me gets to continue their life a little longer.”

Emma is now a double major in Liberal Studies and Computer Science at California State University Bakersfield with a 3.0 gpa.   She also reports “As soon as I was eligible, I started donating blood to make sure more people like me survived.”

Thanks for Giving from EAKC Members

To say Thanks for Giving this month we have a wonderful monthly prize for November thanks to members of the Executives’ Association of Kern County (EAKC). The Monthly Prize is a $500 Walmart Gift Card, courtesy of Mel Ehrlich, Ehrlich Pledger Law LLP, and John Rodgers, CFP! To enter, just remember to donate on a mobile drive or at either donor centers during November. Just think, you could use a Walmart Gift Card for groceries, presents or even a television or computer.  It’s truly a great prize for this time of year.

Mel Ehrlich has been a proud member of EAKC for decades. Ehrlich • Pledger Law, LLP, offers quality legal representation to clients throughout California. As one of the few independent oil and gas law firms in the Kern County area, the firm focuses primarily on matters pertaining to oil and gas law and mineral rights leases. Additionally, Ehrlich • Pledger Law, LLP handlesEP Law Logo real estate matters related to, or independent of, oil and gas legal issues. This includes quiet title actions to clean up a recorded title to mineral rights, surface rights or both, as well as for other real property. Mel has kindly contributed to the monthly prize before.

John Rodgers, Certified Financial Planner (CPF), John Rodgershas more than 35 years of experience in the financial planning industry, and would love to discuss any needs you have regarding financial planning, tax planning, insurance, estate planning, and retirement. John Can be reached at 661-241-9397. John is a dedicated 20 gallon donor, who has previously shown support for the Houchin mission by sponsoring prizes and events. He has always been active in the community, and served on the Kern Community College District Board for many years.

We appreciate these local business owners for supporting blood banking in our community by providing our Thanks for Giving prize for the November EAKC Monthly Prize!

Lessons Learned from Las Vegas

We offer our sincere condolences to everyone affected by the tragedy in Las Vegas, including family and friends of the five Kern County victims who died, and the Tehachapi resident still fighting for her life. This horrific event has certainly hit home for all of us.  Unfortunately, we did miss an opportunity to have platelets in position to help those wounded.

Blood Centers of America (BCA) contacted us at 9:55 am on Saturday, September 30, 2017 in a desperate search for 50 units of lifesaving platelets for the American Red Cross (ARC). Sadly, we had none to offer, as our own collections were barely enough to sustain our regular patient needs. Day after day all week we had begged people to come in to donate platelets, but nothing worked.  Had we had any to share, they would have immediately been on their way to the national supply chain, which just hours later was sending additional supplies to back up ready supplies in Las Vegas, NV to save lives in the worst mass shooting in United States history.  Lesson number one: The blood on the shelves saves lives.

Lives hanging in the balance due to bleeding, like the injuries faced by so many victims in Las Vegas, need three products in combination to stop the bleeding and survive: plasma, platelets, and then red cells.  These are repeated until the bleeding is under control, and called the Massive Transfusion Protocol or MTP.  The MTP was developed on the battlefields in Iran and Iraq and is now used in all trauma centers nationwide.  All these products must all be on the shelf at the hospital, available to save lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The local blood bank is notified an MTP is underway, and additional products rushed in to provide backup supplies.  If additional stocks are needed, the blood bank taps into their own unique supply chains of other nearby banks and/or the national supply chains, which include our affiliate BCA, and ARC.

The existing blood distribution system sends needed products around the nation every day. So long as regular donors keep up donations, and mobile buses can hit the road, there is sufficient tested blood and plasma on the shelves, although it may need to be moved around in emergencies. These products are readily available because plasma can be frozen for up to a year, and red blood cells have a 42 day shelf life. Both can be stocked in quantity. The same is not true of platelets, which must be kept warm and moving, so that they stay viable. They only last 5 days, so a steady stream of donors is needed each day to provide them.  

 Lesson number two: There is never a need for blood donation lines. The donations given after a need occurs will not be ready to distribute for at least 24 hours due to testing. Unfortunately, calls to donate blood after the shooting motivated thousands of donors nationwide to get in line to donate whole blood, and blood banks, including ours, were inundated with goodhearted donors. According to ARC, they transferred just 250 units of blood to help Las Vegas hospitals, a mere drop compared to all that was donated in an effort to help afterwards. If not used, those products will all expire in November.  The best message is to contact your local blood bank to make arrangements to donate what is needed over the next weeks.

Lesson number three: More people need to give platelets.  Even though it takes a little more time, if you have the veins and platelet count to do it, please, please find out more about donating them. Before, during and after the shooting platelets have been in short supply.  We are still turning down blood banks checking to see if we have any to share today.  Thankfully, the message has been getting out locally that platelets are what is most needed now, and we have been able to find new donors this week, but many more are needed.  Platelets are needed by surgery and cancer patients, premature infants and a host of other ill and injured people every day.  None of these patients will survive without volunteer donors.

To find out more about platelet donation, call 661-323-4222.  With your help, when the next call for platelets comes, we will be able to say: “Yes, we can help”.


Target Your Blood Type

This October we ask our donors to target their blood type! Each blood type has the potential to save many lives, so we take this month as an opportunity to teach our donors about their blood type and encourage them to donate in a way that helps maximize the lifesaving potential of their donation. Donors who choose to get their platelet count tested during their donation will receive a coupon for a FREE Pint of Baskin Robbins Ice Cream! All donors targeting their blood type this month enter to win a $500 Target gift card thanks to our EAKC Monthly Prize sponsor, Barrett Business Services Incorporated (BBSI).

Recently Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico braced for three hurricanes that left blood products supplies low in the affected areas. That was followed by the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas. In all cases, the needs for platelets went on long after the red blood cell needs were met, as this fragile blood component lasts only 5 days. The right stores of platelets, plasma and red cells are all needed to be able to cover local needs and help in such emergency situations.

Our donor centers will have “Target Your Blood Type” information booklets that hold information about each blood type and the most effective components of your blood that can be used to save patient lives. For some donors this may mean donating platelets and plasma, for others, it could mean donating whole blood. Targeting your blood type will unlock the true potential of your donation’s ability to save lives and keep our county’s supply of lifesaving blood components. We hope that you will join us in saving lives this October during our Target Your Blood Type Campaign.

BBSI Sponsors October EAKC Prize

save-livesWe vampires are at it again:  “Ve Vant your blood” in October! Thanks to the Executives’ Association of Kern County (EAKC) there is a drawing for a $500 shopping spree at Target courtesy of Barrett Business Services, Inc., or BBSI. It’s not at all scary to enter to win this great Target gift card. Just donate blood, platelets, or plasma at either of our donor centers or most mobile drives anytime in October. Be sure to fill in an entry blank to get in on this treat drawing!

BBSI has served small and medium-sized businesses in the greater Bakersfield area since 2005, by providing payroll services, as well as human resources, workers compensation, safety and risk management consulting.  According to the company:

“We are providers of Business Management Solutions for small businesses. We deliver expertise, guidance and tactical support that allow owners to run their business more effectively. In order to do that, we operate under a unique business model; we combine the tools-based approach of human resource outsourcing with the knowledge-based approach of professional management consulting to create an integrated management platform. This platform helps our clients leverage their internal resources more effectively to operate with maximum efficiency.”

To learn more or speak with a BBSI professional call 661-377-1060 and ask for Jeff or Patrick.



October is Rusty’s Pizza Month

Rusty's GirlDid you know October is National Pizza Month? What better way to celebrate than by picking up a coupon for a free individual cheese or pepperoni pizza when you save lives with us this month.

 Rusty’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!

9th Annual Sickle Cell Awareness Blood Drive

On Saturday, September 16, 2017 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

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 Saturday, September 16, 2017 to help bid “Farewell to Sickle Cell” by participating in the fair, the walk/run, or the blood drive at our Bolthouse Donor Center.

Fair Wristband Blood Drive 2017

wristbandThanks to our returning sponsor, Le Beau-Thelen LLP, the popular fair wristband blood drive is back. Give Blood, It’s the Fairest Thing to Do is the theme of the four day drive, and from Saturday, September 16th through Wednesday, September 20th 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 Kern County Fair. There are 12 coupon packs a day!The fair runs from September 20th – October 1st, 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 very limited 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 12 winners every day. Winners are required to pick up their prize by Friday, September 22nd by 12pm at out Bolthouse Donor Center 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 annual event for donors possible.

Recycle Life Blood Drive

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 23rd and leading up to the semi-annual Kern Schools Community Recycling Day on Saturday, September 30 from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. Community Recycling Day is located at 15000 Bolthouse Drive, across from our Bolthouse Donor Center, so drop off your recycling and then recycle a pint with us from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm at both donor centers. Thanks to Kern Schools, donors during the week-long drive can enter to win a four pack of tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood, good through December 31, 2017!

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.

Universal Studios Hollywood is located in Universal City, CA, and is the home is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!  Kern Schools is your discounted amusement park headquarters, and you can find out about member discounts here. Click on the link for more information on what will be accepted during Kern Schools Community Recycling Day.


September EAKC Prize: Condors Suite

Condors vs StocktonIt’s almost hockey season in CondorsTown, and the Condors’ 20th anniversary, 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 San Antonio Rampage on Dignity Health Home Ice at Rabobank Arena  for the Condors home opener on Thursday, October 12 at 6:30 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: 33-29-5-1, 5th place, Pacific Division
  • Condors to play in the NHL: 13
  • Largest crowd: 12,330 on January 7th 2017

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.