The Blood Bank of Hawai‘i strives to save lives one pint at a time.
According to its website, the non-profit organization has been the sole provider of blood to every hospital in the state for more than 70 years. It states that one pint of blood can save up to three lives.
However, blood donations in Hawai‘i are often at a critical low. In July, KHON2 News reported that the Blood Bank of Hawai‘i had “less than one day’s supply of O-positive and O-negative blood.”
Blood Bank of Hawai‘i president Dr. Kim Anh-Nguyen stated that “it’s the perfect storm–blood usage has been strong in hospitals, donor turnout is lower than usual and blood centers across the nation are facing the same issue, so resource sharing is not available.”
The story also stated that nearly 200 donors are needed every day to ensure there is blood on the shelves for Hawai‘i’s patients.
Statistics released that same month by America’s Blood Centers, a non-profit organization that makes up the largest network of blood centers in the United States, showed that less than 10 percent of the general population that is eligible to donate blood does so annually. Less than 8 percent of people under the age of 30 donate blood. However, more than one in seven people entering a hospital needs blood.
While all blood types are welcome, the Blood Bank of Hawai‘i is specifically looking for O-positive and O-negative. O-negative is the universal blood donor type and can be transferred to anyone regardless of the recipient’s type.
The Blood Bank of Hawai‘i has virtual donor centers, also known as blood drives, all across the state.
One of these virtual donor centers is at the UH Mānoa Campus Center every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The virtual donor center also visits WCC every eight weeks. The blood drive is located in the parking lot of ‘Ākoakoa and is usually present from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“The first time I donated blood, I was 18 and a senior in high school,” said WCC student Emina Lukac who participated in the last blood drive on campus on Nov. 16. “I felt really good about myself. I felt like I was helping people.”
When asked if she recognized the importance of donating blood, WCC student Angelica Leclesma said, “Yes, because I know hospitals are low on blood supply. Since I’m O universal, I know my blood is valuable.”
The experience of donating, however, was mixed for some students. First-time blood donor Camren Cabana-Zukeran said he felt “real weak” after his donation.
If you miss one of the blood drives on campus, students are welcome to donate at the Blood Bank of Hawai‘i’s main donation center located at 1907 Young St. in Honolulu.
To schedule an appointment, call 845-9966.
by Danielle Springel, Special to Ka ‘Ohana