Local News

Wednesday, Jan 22 2014 04:09 PM

Blood bank raises awareness about organ, tissue donation

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    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    Houchin Community Blood Bank president and CEO Greg Gallion and Lori Malkin, founder of JJ's Legacy, tell the audience about the importance of organ and tissue donation and about JJ"s Legacy during the opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Pink Dot Donor Room at the Houchin Bolthouse Donor Center.

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  2. 2 of 4

    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    Local leaders and invited guests listen to Houchin Community Blood Bank president and CEO Greg Gallion and Lori Malkin tell about the importance of organ and tissue donation at the opening and ribon-cutting ceremony for the new Pink Dot Donor Room at the Houchin Bolthouse Donor Center.

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    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    Local leaders and invited guests listen to Mayor Harvey Hall present a certificate to Lori Malkin, the founder of JJ's Legacy, which works to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation. They were at the opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Pink Dot Donor Room at the Houchin Bolthouse Donor Center.

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    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    People watch Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall and other dignitaries perform a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Pink Dot Donor Room at the Houchin Bolthouse Donor Center.

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BY LAURA LIERA Californian staff writer lliera@bakersfield.com

A small pink dot on a driver's license or state identification card can add years and even decades to someone's life.

JJ's Legacy, an organ and tissue donation advocacy organization, has a brand new Pink Dot Donor Screening Room at Houchin Bolthouse Donor Center in southwest Bakersfield.

Greg Gallion, Houchin's president and CEO, said the collaboration between the blood bank and JJ's Legacy is important for the community.

"Blood supply and organ donation go hand in hand," Gallion said Wednesday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. "When you have an organ transplant, a large amount of blood is needed, so working together fits perfectly."

Lori Malkin founded JJ's Legacy, which provides education and awareness about organ and tissue donation, after her son, Jeffrey Johns, died of a head injury in 2009. His organs and tissue were donated.

Malkin said it as an honor to have a room filled with information about organ donation at Houchin.

More than 115,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and of those waiting now, one out of three will die due to a critical lack of life-saving organs, Malkin said.

"We want to inspire you to check 'yes' at the DMV so you can be a donor and save the lives of eight people and save and heal another 50 people with your tissue donation," she said.

So which organs and tissues can be donated? Organs for life-saving transplants include the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas and small intestines. Examples of tissues that could save or enhance someone's life include eyes and corneas, heart valves, bones and skin grafts.

Malkin said only 22 percent of Kern County drivers are registered for donor donation.

"My strength comes from the tragic event that happened in my family's life and I will continue to inspire, educate and spread organ and tissue awareness," Malkin said.

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