Houchin’s First Teen Spokesperson Hallie Keese Challenging Her Peers to Donate Blood
by Thygerson Vaun
Contributing writer and mother of three
Feb 26, 2023
IMG-8139 (1).JPG
“When Liberty High School Junior Hallie Keese was 11 years old she was in a severe ATV accident where she had to receive multiple blood transfusions in order to help save her life. Now, she wants to pay it forward and challenge her fellow students to donate blood as Houchin Community Blood Bank’s (HBCC) first teen spokesperson.

With a nationwide blood shortage, the need for donations is greater than ever. “I just really hope to motivate my peers to become lifelong donors. In high school, they go to the blood drives and then stop donating when they go off to college. I want them to make it a priority and fit it into their schedule on a lifelong basis,” Hallie says. “It’s time my generation takes blood donation seriously.”

Hallie’s dad, Mike Keese, a veterinarian, says after seeing first-hand how blood donations helped his family he has made donating a priority. “We need to be role models for our kids and donate blood,” he says.“It is a very good feeling to help someone out without expecting anything in return.”

Before Hallie’s accident, Mike said he could count on one hand how many times he had donated blood, but now he tries to make a donation every eight weeks. He is even hosting a blood drive at the veterinarian hospital where he works and HBCC’s outreach program will set up the logistics for him and his co-workers.

“I realized that unfortunately something bad can happen at any time to anyone; and if we take a little bit of time to donate, we can take one aspect of worry away from these families so that they won’t have to worry about the availability of blood,” he says.

HBCC coordinates high school blood drives throughout the County to encourage teens to start on a path of lifelong donations. "When COVID started, Houchin Community Blood Bank’s donors that were 19 and under declined by over 42%. High School blood drives oftentimes are the first time many donors start their donation journey, which is why it is important for the youth to consider donating blood now,” says Rachel Nettleton, HBCC Marketing Manager. “Hallie's story as well as her enthusiasm and passion towards blood donations is something that Houchin believes can make a large impact on our youth since she is proof that no matter your age, anyone could receive a blood transfusion."

Kern County is facing a blood shortage and the local hospitals rely on blood and blood products as lifesaving tools.  “As a trauma center, we rely on blood donations to save lives.  Blood products are critical in treating the traumatic injuries we see every day,” says Dr. Amber Jones, a Board Certified General, Trauma, and Critical Care Surgeon at Kern Medical.  “Bleeding, secondary to traumatic injury, is the leading cause of death of Americans from one to 46 years of age. When you donate blood, you are helping provide life-saving treatment for the health of our families.”

Hallie is passionate about blood donation and community service.  She says she learned to be compassionate and help people from her parents, Mike and Christy’s, examples. With her two siblings, Merrin and Ryan, the Keese family went through a lot together and they continue to volunteer together.  If you’d like to take Hallie up on her challenge to donate blood, please visit www.hcbb.com/schedule and make your appointment or walk-in to one of their locations.

You could save a life!

Blood donors must be in good health, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be at least 17 years old or 16 years old with a parent or guardian consent. A photo ID with a date of birth is all that is needed to start saving lives. For more information about blood donation, please visit www.hcbb.com or call 661-323-4222. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcomed.

3/3/23: Vista High School – 9:30 am – 2:30 pm

3/10/23: South High School – 8:45 am – 2:30 pm

3/17/23: West High School – 8:45 am – 2:30 pm

3/21/23: Arvin High School – 7:45 am – 2:00 pm

3/24/23: Stockdale High School – 8:45 am – 2:15 pm

3/29/23: Foothill High School – 8:45 am – 2:30 pm

3/30/23: Mira Monte High School – 9:15 am – 2:30 pm

OFFICE LOCATION: 1400 Easton Drive #112, Bakersfield, CA 93309
PHONE: 661-861-4939 For Advertising and Subscription Inquiries
FAX: 661-861-4930
E-MAIL: kcfm@kerncountyfamily.com