Jamba Juice Day to Kickoff June

Kick-off June by donating blood on Jamba Juice Day, Saturday, June 3rd. Every donor will receive a coupon for a delicious 16 ounce smoothie at both donor centers from 8 am to 2 pm, and at a special mobile drive at the Jamba Juice store located at 9360 Rosedale Highway from 10 am to 2 pm. Coupons are available while supplies last, so make an appointment for this great day of giving to save lives as the summer gets underway.

Only volunteer donors can give blood, and we rely on 100 people a day to keep up with patient needs.  Summer is a tough time to collect blood products as regular donors are traveling, caring for kids out of school, and just enjoying the season. We appreciate Jamba Juice for recognizing this need and hosting this popular annual drive.

Catch the Wave of Giving

Summer T-shirts will be available beginning Wednesday, June 7. The shirt features a surfing vibe this year urging others to “Catch the Wave of Giving – Donate Blood”. Quantities are limited, so we urge donors to take one only if they will personally wear the shirt publically to encourage others to donate during the summer months.

People who wear our shirts are “walking billboards” for blood donation.  Donors often mention that seeing a Houchin T-shirt reminded them to donate, so the shirts truly are a valuable marketing tool when worn. We appreciate every donor who proudly wears their Houchin shirts to the gym or store, helping to share our lifesaving mission with the public.  After all, People Live When People Give.

Check out this awesome video made by Wall Street Imprintables featuring our shirt!

Camp Save-A-Life

June is National Camping Month so we were inspired to ask donors to join us at Camp Save-A-Life.  You can attend Camp Save-a-Life at either donor center, or a mobile drive near you.  No matter where our lifesaving campers report in June, they will be automatically entered to win a great outdoor prize thanks to Executives’ Association of Kern County members Valbridge Property Advisors/Michael Burger & Associates and Hina’s Home Care and Compounding Pharmacy.  The prize is an RTIC cooler and $250 in cash to take the cooler camping or to the park, or just fill it up in your own backyard.  RTIC Coolers are bear proof and keep ice cold for up to 10 days.  An RTIC Tumbler is also included so you can get to your destination with a cold beverage in hand.

Michael Burger & Associates provides a full scope of appraisal and consulting services with specialties in commercial, industrial, residential, and agricultural appraisals; as well as Right-of-Way services.  With over 30 years of service in Bakersfield, they have a team of appraisers that are available to meet all your needs.  Their clients experience local expertise, but also benefit from a national level of cumulative strength thanks to their affiliation with Valbridge Property Advisors.

Valbridge Property Advisors | Michael Burger & Associates – Central California is owned by Michael Burger, a resident of Bakersfield for over 30 years.  Valbridge Property Advisors is one of the largest commercial property valuation and advisory services firms in the U.S., with 200 MAI-designated appraisers, 68 office locations and more than 675 staff across the nation. Valbridge provides independent appraisal services consistent with the highest industry standards of practice. Each Valbridge office is led by an appraiser, like Michael, who holds the MAI designation of the Appraisal Institute.

Michael has donated 6 gallons of blood and says: “I have been donating blood since I moved to Bakersfield.  Blood is life!  I give so that others can live.  My hope is that by donating to Houchin’s monthly drawing it will encourage others to give to the Blood Bank!”

Hina’s Home Care and Compounding Pharmacy is owned by Sanjay and Bhavna Patel, who have three locations: Hina’s Mercy Southwest Pharmacy at 500 Old River Road in the Mercy Southwest Hospital, Hina’s Home Care at 9508 Stockdale Highway across from CSUB, and Hina’s Pharmacy on White lane .

The Hina’s team believes that no two individuals are exactly alike, so they customize all medications for each person’s unique needs. The pharmacy provides comprehensive consulting services and collaborates with healthcare providers to develop unique formulations as prescribed.

For over 17 years, the Hina’s team has been compounding high quality prescriptions. The highly trained staff members are experts in pharmacy compounding, staying on the leading edge of drug therapy by attending continuing education programs and maintaining on-going training. Hina’s staff members are active in pharmacy organizations such as Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA), International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP), and the California Pharmacists Association.

The pharmacy is named after daughter Hina, who tragically died of Sickle Cell disease. The Patels founded the Hina Patel Foundation to educate the world about Sickle Cell disease in memory of their “courageous daughter who battled Sickle Cell Anemia for 17 years followed by the complications from a bone marrow transplant for two additional years.”
In spite of Hina’s struggles, “her perseverance for an education, positive attitude, and jovial personality prevailed,” according to her parents. Hina required blood transfusions throughout her illness. “No words can express how truly grateful we are for the extra time we had with Hina thanks to the local donors who provided the blood products that kept her alive longer. The number of platelets she needed was truly staggering, and the donors always came through for Hina,” according to her father Sanjay. “We cannot say thank you enough.”

High School Luncheon Results

At the end of each school year, Houchin Community Blood Bank hosts an elegant luncheon to recognize high schools contributing the most blood.  This year the theme of the High School Appreciation Luncheon was “You’re the Anchor”.

The schools are divided into three categories: small, medium and large, based on their senior class size.  Small school winner was Frazier Mountain High School  with 107% of their class size participating, collecting a total of 80 units. Medium school winner was North High School which collected 247 units which was 79% of their class size. Large school winner was West High School collecting 92% of their class size with a total of 412 units.

“The Extra Mile Award” was presented to Stockdale High School, for bringing 204 donors into our donor centers, which was an increase of 15 over last year when Stockdale was also the winner. The third annual award was presented by Michael George of Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, sponsor of the award.  Each student Stockdale Houchin Ambassador received a $50.00 gift card for their efforts.  Stockdale High School also won for the most units being donated during the crucial summer months when 113 donors came into either donor center crediting Stockdale High.   Over all, high schools held 41 blood drives, collecting 5,216 units of blood. High school blooddrives represent over 20% of the local blood supply annually.

Each participating school received a beautifully engraved “You’re the Anchor” award and a signature Houchin Community Blood Bank license plate featuring the number of gallons of blood each school has collected in total during their years of participation. The Houchin Ambassadors in each school who organize the drives to gain leadership experience and community service were recognized for their hard work, as were the principals and advisors who make the program so successful.  Kevin Dominguez, a senior from South High School, was the keynote speaker. He spoke from the heart about being an ambassador and his family’s experience losing a loved one to cancer. South High students Stephanie Perez, Luke Garcia, Noe Garcia, Shareni Donis, Fernando Argueta, Celestine Romero all students and their ASB director, Cecilia Pulido performed a playful rap number they wrote, which reinforced the importance of donating blood.

Other award presentations were made to community volunteers who assist with the high school mobiles and local businesses who support the high school program including:  Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, Yogurtland, McDonalds, Rusty’s Pizza, Wall Street Imprintables, and Sonic Drive In.

 The Gallon Grad Program, welcomed 121 students, who met the challenge of donating 8 times to make the one gallon mark my May of the senior year.  Two of these Gallon Grads will be selected to win a $250 Visa Card scholarship sponsored by Kern Schools.


Community Wide Blood Drive

The 11th Annual Community Wide Blood Drive takes place from Wednesday, June 7th to Saturday, June 17, 2017 to make sure there is enough blood for our patients as summer gets underway.  Thanks to our presenting sponsors, San Joaquin Community Hospital and Kaiser Permanente, donors at the blood bank and on all mobile drives will be entered to win a Grand Prize Disney Vacation, as well as 10 days of $100 COOL Cash giveaways during the drive!

According to Jimmy Phillips, Administrative Director Marketing/Communications, Adventist Health Bakersfield: “The blood flowing through each of our veins indicates that we are living, breathing, thriving people. But in the worst of times, the lack of blood can bring an end to an otherwise healthy and loved human being. This is why blood donation is so essential. The donors who generously give of themselves so that others may live is one of the most generous and selfless gifts possible. Adventist Health Bakersfield is proud to support Houchin Blood Bank on the annual Community Wide Blood Drive and we encourage everyone to get involved.”

“As a healthcare provider, Kaiser Permanente recognizes the importance of having an adequate blood supply in our community.  We are excited to sponsor the Community Wide Blood Drive and would like to thank all the donors who unselfishly give and encourage others to donate to help those that might need a gift of life,” says Eva Ramirez, Senior Communications Specialist, Kaiser Permanente.

For more information or to make an appointment click here or call 661-616-2505. A toll-free number is also available: 877-364-5844.
The Community wide Blood Drive kicks off on Tuesday, June 7th with a 13 hour mobile drive sponsored by KGET 17 from 5 am to 6 pm on the corner 21st and L Streets.  Thanks to the generous support of Joann Marling, Agent, New York Life, and the Ying On Association, we have access to an airconditioned space for donors to register and wait for the first time this year.  We promise an exciting party atmosphere at this year’s event at the Ying-On Building and in China Alley next to KGET. The ongoing commitment of the television station to the event received the national Media Partner of the Year Award in 2014 from America’s Blood Centers.

Give Where You Live

To honor those who give blood around the world, Nexcare Bandages has developed a limited-edition collection of bandages with the theme “Give Where You Live,” including bandages inspired by landmarks and architecture from around the globe. Packages of the limited-edition bandages will be available at the donor centers and mobile drives from June 12 -18 while supplies last in celebration of World Blood Donor Day on June 14, 2017. Nexcare is committed to making blood donation a national priority as shown by this annual recognition of blood donors worldwide.

Nexcare’s annual support for World Blood Donor Day is explained in this video. Donors can pledge to give as part of World Blood Donor Day and take part in the effort by using the hashtag #GiveInspires with donation photos posted to social media.  Why not take part in this international effort by taking a selfie at our donor center and use the hashtag? No needles please in your photo submissions.

Ashley HomeStore is back for the Summer!


Donors will receive this awesome Ashley-Sleep memory foam pillow when they donate!

We are proud to partner with the Bakersfield Ashley HomeStore® on Saturday, June 24, 2017. This is our seventh blood drive together, and based on prior success, the drive should be a great help in keeping our shelves stocked this summer!

Although the need for blood never takes a vacation, our donors do, and that makes it harder for people to find time to give blood. Special blood drives like this one at Ashley HomeStore® help ensure a stable blood supply to offset this seasonal decline.

The Ashley HomeStore® mobile blood drive will be held at its Bakersfield location, 8915 Rosedale Highway, from 10 am – 2 pm. Donors there, or at either donor center all day, will receive a coupon for a free Ashley Sleep Contour Pillow and a 30% off coupon for merchandise at the Ashley HomeStore® while supplies last. The pillow coupon must be redeemed at the store. Also at the mobile drive, donors will receive a refreshing fruit cup or specialty drink from Heavenly Treats 661 which will have a popup location at the mobile drive.  For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at 661-616-2505. You can also make an appointment online.

Ashley HomeStore has always had a proud sense of its history and the wisdom to know what made it great. Ashley continues to strive to enhance its communities by working to improve their infrastructure and community services. Locally owned Ashley HomeStores® are extremely active in their communities supporting many nonprofit organizations. Thank you for supporting ours!

Dad Honored by Donor Children

Here is a heartwarming story for Father’s Day month. Mark Woolsey, was a regular blood donor until he got very sick in 2008. Even though he was seen by many doctors, none of them could come to a diagnosis. He was hospitalized, tested countless times for various problems, found to be severely anemic, and plans were being made to have him airlifted to UCLA Medical Center, when finally someone recognized his symptoms. Mark was diagnosed with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), a very rare blood vessel disorder, by a rheumatologist who had recently moved from out of state to the area. He immediately began treatment, which involved chemotherapy and a transfusion of two units of blood, which saved his life.

According to oldest daughter Ekaterina, or Kat, “The picture above was taken in the hospital, shortly after my dad received his diagnosis. These are all my siblings, minus my youngest brother who was on the way at the time. On the lower left is Quin, now age 12; upper left is Ana, who just turned 16 and gave her first donation; on the right is me; next to me is my older brother Teancum, now age 20, and Teancum is holding Hyrum, now age 11. The youngest sibling not pictured is Jasper, now age 8.”

Mark still takes oral chemotherapy drugs daily to keep his condition stable, and he can no longer donate blood, so his children have taken his place to honor him.  Each child begins donating as soon as they turn 16, or plan to. According to Kat, “now that Dad can no longer donate, it means a lot to him that me and my siblings donate as often as possible.” New donor Ana on the left, and Kat, on the right join their brother Teancum, who was out of town during this photo shoot, in being avid blood donors into the future, grateful for the units that saved their father’s life.

Father Mark says: “I’ve always felt like donating blood was such an important service that everyone should do if they can.  I used to donate as often as possible. Then I got sick and had to deal with this disorder, and it was frustrating that I couldn’t donate anymore, especially since I ended up needing blood myself at one point.  I was really touched when Teancum decided to start donating at 16, especially when he told me that he was doing it in my place, since I couldn’t donate anymore.  Then Ekaterina and Anneliese have decided to do it too, and it’s really neat.  Even though I can’t donate myself, I feel like 3 donations are being made in my name each time, instead of the single one I used to give, and that’s a great feeling. I’m really proud of my kids for helping out the community that way.”


Priceless Gift for Someone Special

The most personal gift anyone can give is the gift of life. Thanks to a generous local business, Houchin Community Blood Bank can present each donor with a Mother’s Day gift to share. The gift is a full size sparkling nail polish from Kiara Sky Professional Nails, packaged by Houchin staff for gift giving with a tag that reads: “I saved lives in honor of Mother’s Day.” The gift will be available to donors at both donor centers, 5901 Truxtun Avenue and 11515 Bolthouse Drive in Bakersfield from through Wednesday, May 17, 2017.  The most needed blood products are O-, O+ and A- blood, AB plasma and platelets of any kind. Appointments are needed for plasma and platelet appointments, but not for blood donations.

The Kiara Sky Professional Nail Lacquer gift is translucent with red and holographic glitter which can be used alone or over other colors and is manufactured here in Bakersfield. “The color is Lava at First Sight, but we think of it as Lifesaving Red” said Carola Enriquez, Director of Community Development.  “Donations have been really slow this week, and we appreciate Kiara Sky thinking of our donors first with the discontinued stock,” she continued.  Houchin is truly the only place to get this very personal gift for Mom, and the only cost is a little time spent donating for patients in need.

Kiara Sky nail products are made right here in Bakersfield.  According to Vanessa Hagglund, Public Relations: “We saw the color to be discontinued and immediately thought of Houchin for a donation”. We are glad they did, so plan to come in to save lives while supplies of this very fun gift last!

Public Relations

Celebrate Memorial Day with Veterans Tribute

From Armed Forces Day on Saturday, May 20 through Saturday, May 27 during Memorial Day Weekend, donors will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite branch of the Armed Services during Freedom Week, our seventh annual week-long celebration of our military. One lucky donor will win the Freedom Week Flyaway, a $2,000 travel voucher to a destination of your choice! The trip is sponsored by Setton Farms, the local producer of “America’s Best Tasting Pistachios”.

Donors can enjoy a free kick-off BBQ on Saturday, May 20th from 10 am to 2 pm, sponsored by the Bread of Life BBQ Ministry at the Truxtun Donor Center. We hope to see both regular and new volunteers come in to donate throughout Freedom Week to celebrate the men and women who serve, or have served, our country in the military. What a great way to recognize our veterans as well as personally serve our community between Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day each year!

Setton Farms - America's Favorite Pistachios - California PistachiosWe appreciate the ongoing support of Setton Farms for our Freedom Week Blood DriveSetton Farms learned long ago that producing the best pistachio nuts starts with the growing process. Their orchards follow the most strict cultivation standards and maintain one of the most sophisticated food safety programs. As a family owned and operated pistachio company since the mid 1980s, they attend to each detail of the pistachio growing process. Setton Farms’ continuous improvement and perfection of that growing process has made them the industry leader in the development of this important local crop. We appreciate their ongoing recognition of the valuable contributions of our local blood, platelet and plasma donors through the sponsorship of our annual Freedom Week by sponsoring this fabulous donor prize.