February Donor: Wesley Wilson

Wesley Wilson first started donating blood at 16 years old when he was a student at Ridgeview High School! Wesley says, “My blood type is O Negative, I know it’s important because it is the universal blood type. I just try to give when I can so that I can help the most people that I can.” Wesley recently switched over to an automated donation procedure where he is able to save the most lives and give the blood products that are best for his height, weight, and blood type. Wesley was able to donate a unit of red cells, a platelet, and a plasma! His donation will save and help in more ways than the average whole blood donation.

Wesley enjoys playing golf during his time off and spending time with his wife.  Wesley is a tattoo aficionado. He explained that the tattoo he has on his inner arm is a tribute to his late mother, and the tattoo on his outer arm is a tribute to his father as well as his family. He was happy to find out that people are now able to donate blood only seven days after getting a tattoo. He is excited to be able to continue getting awesome tattoos and still being able to donate blood, platelets, and plasma. Wesley encourages everyone that can, to donate blood. He says, “Its worth it. You can help people when they need it the most, and if you ever need it, there will be someone else that is able to help you.”

Give N Go with CSU Bakersfield!

California State University Bakersfield Athletics Department is once again sponsoring the annual CSUB Give n Go Blood Drive to celebrate another great season of Division I Basketball. This year’s drive will be held from February 3rd to 17th, 2018.

All donors can enter to win a $100 Visa Gift Card provided by the CSUB sports fans at Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, plus all donors will receive a voucher to attend any game, any sport, at CSUB through May 31, 2018. CSUB alumni, students and staff are encouraged to roll up their sleeves and make a donation during the drive. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to support our Runners!

News from Houchin

Spread the word! This year we anticipate a number of exciting changes.

Effective February 2, 2018, a person receiving a tattoo in a licensed facility, in a regulated state like California, can donate just seven days after the tattoo.  The previous one year wait period has kept many people from donating, and we look forward to seeing those donors back in and saving lives. If you have been deferred for tattoos in the past, you may now be eligible to give.

We will be rolling out a new interactive donor portal over the next few months as well.  This will allow donors to make online appointments and search for mobile drives easily via an interactive map to learn when we will be near them throughout Kern County.

The new portal will also allow donors to check their health records, and find out when they are eligible to donate again.  This new access will allow donors to access information after hours or via mobile phone.  Available open time slots for mobile drives, as well as trima and whole blood appointments will be available so that we can better serve donors in a timely manner. Be sure we have your correct e-mail address so we can inform you of the system’s availability.  It will even allow us to text you if you choose!

We hope you will be as excited as we are about these changes!




Grand Fiesta for Lucky Donor

Thanks to locally owned Explorer Travel & Toursall February donors will be automatically entered to win a fabulous stay at the Hotel Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta. Agency Owner Leland Davis says he is very excited to be able to offer 4 days and three nights for two at this exciting adults only hotel. This wonderful prize is the Executives’ Association of Kern Countymonthly prize.

The Hotel Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta features majestic views, world-class fine dining and exceptional personalized service at a stylish beachfront all-inclusive resort in Mexico.

Secluded in the lush green and mesmerizing Sierra Madre mountains, but just 15 minutes from the Romantic Zone, Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta offers an unforgettable leisure experience. Our winner can unwind by the infinity pool or dive into the crystal-clear waters of Bahia de Banderas. From guided kayak tours to a pampering at Haixa Spa, fantastic memories await our winner at this unique destination. Watch a video here.

The Explorer Travel & Tours motto is “Adventure is out there…We’ll help you find it.” 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.” Leland is also a Kern County firefighter, and adds: “I see the need for blood donations to help support burn victims and victims of traumatic accidents on a daily basis. 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@set4adventure.comBe sure to check out the Explorer Travel & Tours Facebook page.

Note: The winner of the trip must book it through Explorer Travel & Tours, and the winner will be responsible for airfare, transfers, and required travel protection, which will be booked through Explorer Travel and Tours. Extra nights or tours can be added if the client wishes to purchase them. The trip must be booked by 12/1/18.


Kids Born with Half a Heart

You probably remember our delightful friend Charlie, who celebrated her third birthday with us by hosting a month long blood drive with her family. They encouraged 3,333 blood product donations during February 2017 in advance of an impending heart surgery for Charlie.  She went through that successful surgery on May 30th, and is back to her active little self. Your can follow her progress at Hearts for Charlie.

While Charlie was born missing the left side of her heart, her friend Brave Baby Ben was born missing the right side of his, so they have one whole heart between them.  Both are tough little people, having experienced surgery and procedures since birth.  Such surgeries require blood, platelets and plasma donations from donors like you.

We are going to celebrate these two great kids throughout February, which is American Heart Month. They and their families will host a blood drive on Saturday, February 17, 2018 as well.

While we think of hearts in February, it’s probably not the kind beating in our chests.  Real hearts need to be mended constantly in people of all ages, so we hope to see many donors in giving blood, platelets and plasma from their hearts throughout the month.  We will feature more about these great kids all month on social media. Can we beat last year’s February totals in honor of these little survivors? We sure hope so.

Sal Needs Blood and a Match

Sal Rivera is fighting for his life against a reoccurrence of a rare leukemia. He and his family are very thankful for the blood and platelet donations keeping him alive right now, as he undergoes chemotherapy prior to a bone marrow transplant. He is going through a lot of O- blood and platelets now trying to keep his strength up. Sal, and his wife Kacie,want to be sure there are enough of the products he is using, not just for himself, but for everyone fighting cancer. We do provide blood products to City of Hope when Kern County stocks are sufficient, and have been able to do so during Sal’s stay.

We hope you will support Sal and his family with a blood, platelet or plasma donation during Sal’s Blood Drive from Thursday, February 1 to Saturday, February 10, 2018 at either donor center. The biggest needs are O-, O+, A-, A+, B- and B+ blood, AB plasma, and platelets of any kind.  Platelet and plasma donors should make an appointment by calling 661-616-2505.  Whole blood donors can just walk in.

Sal was diagnosed with a rare form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in April 2016. After a year-long battle, the cancer seemed gone and life was returning to normal for Sal and his family. But, at the end of 2017, Sal’s cancer returned. More information on the family, and Sal’s fight, is available at their Go Fund Me page.

Sal needs a bone marrow transplant to survive, so we are looking for his match from someone of Hispanic/Latin descent. A bone marrow drive on January 20th at Barber Honda saw 65 people sign up to become marrow donors, but we’d like to find more potential matches for Sal, and time is of the essence. We will have bone marrow registration kits at both donor centers throughout the drive for people 18-44 years of age throughout the drive.

The kits we collect will be picked up by Korina Mendoza, Community Outreach Specialist at City of Hope.  Sal will receive his marrow transplant there, as transplants are not available in Kern County.  Korina will be on hand Monday, February 5 from 4 to 6 pm at the Bolthouse Donor Center for those who would like help in English or Spanish. Sal has his own page at Be the Match for those who want more information or to have a kit sent directly to them here

Every 3 minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer, like Leukemia or Lymphoma. The only hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. 70% of patients don’t have a compatible match in the family and rely on finding an unrelated donor. You can help by joining the Be the Match Registry.

Local Mom Hosts Drive Before Due Date

Desiree Kingston almost never met her newborn son, David. She nearly died after delivering him requiring many, many blood, plasma and platelet donations.

Desiree has always been grateful for the many units of blood products that were available to save her life.  Only recently has she had the strength to reach out to Houchin to offer to help us encourage others to donate.  She says she couldn’t until now:  “I think I was still processing how close I came to dying before.” You can make an appointment for the week or just walk in with a whole blood donation.

According to Desiree: “With my first pregnancy my son was born at 34 weeks. He was completely fine and did not need any intervention. I, unfortunately, was a different story. My placenta did not detach on its own or correctly. When it finally did, it tore a section of my uterus with it causing me to hemorrhage greatly. I was rushed into life saving surgery and given multiple blood and platelet transfusions. I really do not remember the first week of my son’s life”.

Desiree’s pregnancy is being closely monitored, and so far everything looks good, but to ensure there are enough blood products available for all patients, Desiree is hosting a week long blood drive from Monday, January 15 to Saturday, January 20, 2018 to encourage donations. Desiree is O+ and newborns need O- blood.  Both types are running low at the blood bank.  Platelets of any kind are needed daily, and AB plasma is crucially low as well.  A+, A-, B+, and B- blood donors are also very welcome to participate.  Show your support for Desiree’s drive by making an appointment here, or just donate at either donor center and sign-in as a supporter on the sheet provided.

Help Us Earn a New Bus!

H&R Block has offered the Houchin Community Blood Bank Foundation an opportunity to raise funds toward a much needed new mobile bus to replace our oldest one through their Nonprofit Referral Service, from January 1 through April 30.  Each donor, or friend of Houchin, who becomes a new client of H&R Block next year can earn us $20.00! All you have to do is present a code at the time of service. The code is provided on slips in the canteens, or on this form you can download and cut apart to share!

H&R Block has offered tax services for over 60 years. With that much tax experience, they know how to deliver the best service possible. Whether you file your taxes with them online, in an office, or with their do-it-yourself software, one thing is certain – they are not happy until you are. H&R Block has a 100% accuracy guarantee and a Max Refund Guarantee. Come tax preparation time H&R Block has 15 convenient locations around Bakersfield, as well as in other part of Kern County like Taft, Arvin, Tehachapi, Ridgecrest, Kern River Valley and Delano.



Price is Right for Donor Jack Hood

Jack Hood knew exactly how to get on the Price is Right:  make a t-shirt that said he was a 94-year-old blood and platelet donor at Houchin Community Blood Bank.  It worked! Jack will be appearing on the show airing January 5, 2018 at 10:00 am. His bright blue and pink shirt said: 94 YEARS OLD, Still Donating Blood to Houchin Blood Bank, Blood . . .22 Gallons, Platelets & Plasma . . .226.

Jack really wanted to try to get on the popular show again, since he didn’t make the final cut 10 years ago.  He was confident that his age and status as a blood donor would get him noticed, and he was the very first potential contestant selected!

Although he didn’t win much, Jack says he had a good time doing the show and hopes people seeing his shirt will “give some blood” themselves.  He says while he likes Houchin’s motto that “People Live When People Give”, but his personal motto is “You’re never too old to give”. He loves knowing that old blood is as good as new blood, and anyone, no matter what ethic group, can give and save a life.  “Any blood is good blood” according to Jack.

Houchin is proud to have Jack Hood as a treasured donor who exemplifies the spirit of saving lives through blood, platelet, and plasma donations.  It is particularly fitting that Jack’s appearance on the Price is Right will kick off January as National Blood Donor Month.  “Knowing Jack, his appearance will be enthusiastic and energetic.  We hope seeing a man of his age advocating the lifesaving properties of blood and platelet donations will encourage others to try his “fountain of youth”, said Greg Gallion, President and CEO of Houchin Community Blood Bank.


iGive So Others Live. Resolve to Get Fit and Save Lives!

Blood donation can be part of an ongoing healthy lifestyle. Not only do blood products save lives every day in hospitals county wide, but volunteer donors benefit from the “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 is once again offering a great, health-enhancing donor prize as we Resolve to Get Fit and Save Lives together in January 2018. All donors can enter to win an Apple iWatch Series 2 every week in January!

Kern Family LogoAccording 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.

Get a move on your New Year resolutions and  Resolve to Get Fit and Save Lives in 2018! See you at one of our donor centers soon.