We're coming up on the end of National Blood Donor Month, and local officials are reminding the public about the importance of making a donation year-round. 23ABC's Austin Westfall took a tour of the Houchin Community Blood Bank Donation facility in Southwest Bakersfield with a look at who's most in need. Houchin says they typically aren't able to meet their blood donation quota. They say if you're able and willing, a donation can go a long way.
"When you come in you donate one pint of blood, that pint of blood can help up to three people. It can save up to three people's lives," explained Keren Martin, Marketing Coordinator at Houchin Community Blood Bank.
And according to the Houchin, more often than not, those lives are people who have emergency injuries or have had a premature baby like the Alatorre family whose twins were born prematurely at 24 weeks and were in dire need of blood.
They got the blood they need thanks to two donors, who they met in person and thanked last week. But that's not the only reason why blood donations are vital.
"Cancer patients are probably the most common patients that use blood and platelet transfusions. They use them when they go through their chemotherapy treatments," said Martin.
Houchin says about 38 percent of the population qualifies to donate blood, but only about two to five percent actually do. Every blood type is useful, but the golden child, they say, is O-Negative, which is the universal type.
If you want to make a donation, Houchin takes walk-in appointments. They say they need about 100 donations a day to meet their requirement but when asked if they usually get that full 100, Martin responded: "No, we probably get around 60 donations a day."