By Lt. Jose Martinez, AA/PIO
North Kern State Prison
In a world where nearly everything can be manufactured, rebuilt, and redesigned, scientists are still unable to make artificial blood. Meaning people who need a blood transfusion must rely entirely on willing citizens to donate. Unfortunately, donations haven’t been able to keep pace with the tremendous need.
However, North Kern State Prison (NKSP) staff have been donating by the pints. On Dec. 12, prison staff held another blood drive, donating 61 pints. Since 2014, NKSP staff have donated 535 pints. That’s the equivalent of 67 gallons.
Statistcally, one pint can save up to three lives. That equates to 1,605 lives NKSP staff may have had a hand in saving.
“This is a remarkable achievement. Blood donations at North Kern State Prison continue to grow. Donors are seasoned and come with no hesitation,” said Tracy Hunter, Account Manager for Houchin Blood Bank.
Warden Kelly Santoro has reaffirmed and is extremely proud of NKSP’s relationship with Houchin Blood Bank and the support of all staff. Of those who have donated, there have been 153 first-time donors who are now regular donors.
North Kern State Prison is committed to this cause because “people live when people give.”
Centinela inmates walk to fight cancer
Story by Lt. Michael Ramirez, AA/PIO
Photos by Coach Christopher Burton and others
Centinela State Prison
In the fall, 610 Centinela State Prison inmates, and seven members from the community, walked to battle cancer. The event was co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society and Centinela State Prison. Christopher Burton, the CEN Coach and Physical Education Teacher, and Monica De Leon, from the El Centro American Cancer Society, were instrumental in planning and coordinating the event. Participating inmates walked the prison yard with the members of the community to raise money for the fight against cancer.
In order to participate in the event, the inmates had to pledge a donation of $5 dollars to the American Cancer Society. The donated money was paid directly by the inmates or by the inmates’ family members or friends.
“(We) raised approximately $4,500 dollars in donations for the one day event. It was a successful event and we would like to have them [the American Cancer Society] back again,” said Coach Burton. “Each (inmate) filled out a form to express how they were personally going to attack cancer.”
In addition to walking the prison yard, the inmates were provided with the opportunity to publicly proclaim how they were going to attack cancer with the use of fill-in the blank placard that read: “I’m attacking cancer by__________.” The placard was meant to prompt the inmates to personally reflect on making healthy living choices. Some of the inmates took advantage of the placards and proclaimed to attack cancer by “eating right,” “seeing a doctor” or by some other health-conscious proclamation.