Students, community members give blood to save lives

Written by: 
Samone Isom ~ Multimedia Journalist

An opportunity to save lives came to the BYU-Hawaii campus with the arrival of granola bars, needles and blood bags. The Blood Bank of Hawaii stayed two days in early October taking donations of blood to help fill the reserve needed for all the hospitals throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

“There is always a need for more blood,” said Claylyn Ah Soon, a phlebotomist (an expert in blood extraction) who has been with the Blood Bank of Hawaii for nine months.

When it comes to ways of helping those in dire need, giving blood is one of the easiest for busy people to do, said participants. “You just come in, lay down, and they take care of the rest. It is simple but you feel good because you know it is going to help people,” said Erik Adams, junior in biology from Oregon.

He is not the only one who feels this way or the only one who keeps coming back. “I’ve given blood a couple times. It is a good thing, an easy thing. You just sit there while they siphon you bodily fluids. Makes me feel good,” said Mariel Shreve, a resident of Laie.

Not everyone is immediately enthusiastic about donating blood. Some said they needed a little persuasion to replace their self-preservation with selflessness. “I was always scared of needles, but the guy at the table kind of shamed me into doing it. He made me realize that the reason outweighs the pain. It probably will hurt and I won’t like it, but I know it’ll help people. I feel like it is the right thing,” said Davin Kane, a senior in psychology from Hawaii, giving blood for the first time.

For those who want to donate, it can be disappointing when they set aside an hour of their time, only to be deferred. “Usually we have to ask donors to come back because they have low iron. They need to drink water and eat a big breakfast,” advised Ah Soon. “It is a safety precaution so you don’t faint,” explained Lisa
Matsuyama, an RN who has been drawing blood for five years.

There is a common misconception that one cannot give blood if they have been outside of the United States. “It depends on where you go. We have a whole list of countries and regions. You just have to come in and see,” said Matsuyama. This means that International students can give blood as well.

“You must have a valid ID with a date of birth,” said Matsuyama. A driver’s license, or a passport work perfectly well. “Just don’t bring the student ID because there is no date of birth,” clarified Matsuyama.