By Bre Williams
Every drop of blood given can contribute to saving a life, and students were given this opportunity on April 22 in Runner Park at the Houchin Blood Drive. Houchin comes to California State University Bakersfield twice a year to collect blood and this visit was their first for 2014.
According to Carola Enriquez, the director of community development for Houchin, there were 155 students who registered to donate blood and 125 were able to give blood of those donors 45 were new, which is a success because Houchin is constantly in need of new donors.
One of those first time donors was Carissa Hicks, a junior history major at CSUB.
“I have always wanted to donate, but never got around to doing it,” she said. “So when the opportunity arose on campus, I decided that I waited long enough. It’s a humbling experience knowing that your blood just might save a life. I had a great time at the blood drive, and I know that I will be a regular donor from this point forward.”
At the blood drive, donors were given a coupon for McDonald’s, a coupon for Rusty’s Pizza, and were offered Togo’s sandwiches with water or juice.
The atmosphere in the bloodmobile that day was upbeat and enjoyable. DRA Glen Chesbrough told jokes to the donors to keep the smiles on their faces.
“It is important for people to donate blood because there is one place to get blood and that is from volunteers”, Enriquez said.
She said Houchin is always in need of new donors because if current donors become ill, they can no longer give blood. Carola also said that Houchin likes to get donors started young, so that they can have a long life of giving blood.
The Houchin website explains that all the blood for “county hospitals, private cancer and blood disease treatment facilities, and other medical centers which transfuse blood, platelets and plasma to patients” comes solely from donors to the Houchin Blood Bank.
Houchin has been supplying Kern County with blood since 1952 and they can do so because of devoted donors.
Their website states that while 60 percent of the population can give blood only 5 percent currently do. The next opportunity to give blood on the CSUB campus will be October 23, but blood can always be given at one of Houchin’s locations.
On average, Houchin takes around one pint of blood from each donor.