Blood drive in honor of community leader

Bakersfield Aids Project founder in hospital

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A woman responsible for helping hundreds in Kern County was in need herself and many came to help.

Audrey Chavez, the founder of the Bakersfield Aids Project and Ricky's Retreat fell ill Monday night and was in desperate need of blood.

"On 23 News I heard they were having a blood drive for Audrey Chavez. So I came in to help out," said Michael Jones.

Friends and family rallied on social media to start a blood drive in Chavez' name and more than a dozen came to the Houchin Blood Bank to donate.

"I already know my mom is an amazing woman. I really look up to her. It's great to see everybody else take notice and want to help," said Ericca Chavez, Audrey's daughter.

Chavez is still receiving treatment at San Joaquin Community Hospital. Monday night she needed four units of a-positive blood. The family said the hospital is still running tests to get more information about her condition.

"She is in good spirits right now. She is happy to see everyone coming together. She loves our family and she loves the community," said Ericca.

Chavez started the Bakersfield Aids Project and Ricky's Retreat as a place for those who desperately need support. Now many are happy to give back and donate in her name.

"Audrey has done so much for everybody and she has been so giving. It's the least we can do. She has done so much for our community. Doing such a little thing as donating blood is just something we should be doing," said Phillip Castro.

Chavez does not presently need more blood, but the blood bank said this incident is a good reminder the community needs to keep in mind.

"It really is pretty special; it shows what a caring community we have that so many came in to donate in her name. I think that at any time, anybody we know could be needing blood. That brings home the fact that any of us could need blood without notice," said Carola Enriquez, spokesperson at the Houchin Blood Bank.

The family said they appreciate all the support from the community. The drive runs until February 9th.

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