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Blood Bank of Hawaii collects 119 blood donations at recent campus event

A Student Service Center blood drive sign in the Aloha Center that reads "Sign up and donate blood."

The blood drive held in the Aloha Center was welcomed by a large number of BYUH students, generating 119 confirmed blood donations over the course of two days on Jan. 30 and 31 for the Blood Bank of Hawaii.

The BYUH Service Center team, in which eight representatives were present at the event, assisted in managing the appointments with a team of trained phlebotomists that carried out the donation procedure.

According to redcrossblood.org, the blood donation procedure occurs when blood is drawn from a donor. The platelets are collected by the cell separator and the remaining blood is returned to the donor during the donation process. Each apheresis (removal of blood plasma) donation procedure is said to take about 1 1/2 to two hours.

Student Service Center Supervisor Alyssa Allen, a senior student from Colorado majoring in humanities with an emphasis in Chinese, was one of the student representatives to help facilitate those who participated.

Allen explained how the blood drive takes place every two months, where students and members of the community come to take part in the event.

According to Allen, only two percent of the whole state of Hawaii donates blood and the Blood Bank of Hawaii receives 50 percent of donations from University of Hawaii and BYUH students.

Allen said she believes this blood drive has been the busiest one BYUH has had in a year.

“We talked about it a lot to students, but also we recommended it to clubs to use for their service projects, and since it was on campus, we were excited about not having to pay for a car.”

Mellissa Nguyen Lumogdang, a recent graduate of BYUH in biochemistry from Ohio, said she started donating two years ago when she saw flyers posted by the BYUH Student Service Center. She thought it was interesting how she could save lives by giving up some time to donate blood. She said she thinks it is one of the ways she could give back to the community and be able to help somebody in need. It was her 10th time donating.

According to Allen, “There were about 2 walk-ins for every appointment on Friday and 1 walk-in for every appointment on Thursday. We got 68 full collections of blood on Friday and 51 on Thursday, so altogether that’s a potential of 357 lives saved.”

Several students shared their thoughts on their experience while at the event. Lei Au, a senior exercise and sport science major from American Samoa, said it was her first time participating in donating blood. She explained how she was in the library and her sister had convinced her to follow her to the blood drive.

Au said she read the booklet which explained the cause and expressed feelings of excitement as she believed her contribution would benefit other people’s lives. “I feel like a superhero,” Au added.

Zaphnath Villanueva, a freshman marine biology major from the Philippines, said he learned about the event through the school’s email. He walked in to the blood drive right after he was done with class.

Villanueva shared how it was his first time and he was nervous. He also said he felt good about his act of service and appreciated the opportunity to participate in the blood drive event.

Alyssa Tuioti, a junior majoring in biomedical science from California, said she found out about the event through the Healthcare Club and it was her fifth time donating.

“If you’re not afraid of needles or blood … then this is a really cool act of service,” she said.

Alli Barney, a political science junior from Utah, said the phlebotomists were considerate and kind. It was her third time donating and she said it is a simple way for students to feel like they are making a difference.