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The Blood Bank of Hawaii relies on local blood donation, not allowed to take blood from anywhere else

Blood drives are held every eight weeks on the BYU–Hawaii campus.

According to the Blood Bank of Hawaii, the state can only use blood from donations made in the islands. Setting up their equipment at 9 a.m. in the Aloha Center on June 6, staff of the Blood Bank of Hawaii and the Student Service Center invited people to donate blood.

“No blood is allowed to be taken to Hawaii from the mainland or other countries, according to the law. The Blood Bank of Hawaii only get residents in Hawaii to donate blood,” said Alyssa Allen, a Student Service Center supervisor and a senior from Colorado studying humanities.  “There are a lot of sick people and there isn’t enough blood to help them.”

Mariko Chinen, a team leader from the Blood Bank of Hawaii, said, “Any critical situation, any simple surgery, you always have a process of needing blood or blood components. They only way to do that is to get from donors. They cannot be synthetically made.”

Michael Waters, a sophomore from Oregon studying intercultural peacebuilding and political science who donated blood that day, said, “A few years ago, my little sister was in a car accident. She lost a lot of blood and had to get a lot of blood transfusion.”

Waters said because of the accident, his family learned to be grateful for blood donors. They have been donating blood regularly. “For me, it’s not something super huge,” Waters said, “but it’s something that can help people.”

Those who donated blood said they felt happy knowing they were saving other people’s lives. Their willingness outweighed the pain lasting for a few seconds.

Donating blood for the first time in her life, Alisa Chen, a junior from Taiwan studying elementary education, said she was afraid when she entered the room. However, the process turned out to be less painful than she expected. “The pain just lasted for one short moment and then, it didn’t hurt anymore. It finished quickly.”

Chen said after donating blood, she realized how healthy her body is and she thanked God for the blessing. “I have a lot of friends who are unable to donate blood. They would faint or they have other restrictions in their bodies. I’m grateful that God has given me such a healthy body. Not only I have enough for myself, but I have extra [blood] to contribute and help others. I feel so much joy.”

Considering the blood people donate helps others, Waters said, “They do stick that needle on you, but it’s not really that big of a deal.”

Expressing her desire to help people by donating blood, Lilyann Tuivai, a freshman from Australia studying communications, said, “I don’t know where my blood is going, but knowing that me donating blood will be able to help someone else with whatever medical issue that they may have just brings comfort to me.”

All healthy residents in Hawaii are eligible to donate blood, including international students. The blood drive on campus happens every eight weeks, according to Allen.

Students are encouraged to inquire if they have no experience donating blood or other questions, Allen said. “Come and talk with us. We can put your concerns at ease. In that way, you can feel comfortable when you come and donate for the first time.”

Writer: Tomson Cheang