HONOLULU (KHON2) — Almost 17,000 miles in just under one year is how far one man biked across the U.S. to spread awareness to donate blood.
He wrapped up his journey on Tuesday, July 26 at the Blood Bank of Hawaii.
Bob Barnes, 52, set out from Syracuse, New York in August 2021 with a mission to spread awareness of giving blood in each community he visited.
“I don’t have a lot of means, but blood cant be manufactured, but it’s something that I can do myself,” Barnes said.
One pint can save up to three lives, according to the Blood Bank of Hawaii. On hand to witness Barnes’ feat were local super donors — the man with Hawaii’s second-most donations said he started way back in high school.
“And two of my big football friends fainted, you know, well, they were kind of woozy,” Gerald Yamane said, “so I said, ‘Hey, I can do this, I’m just a regular guy,'”
Yamane has a message for Hawaii’s keiki as the local donor pool ages.
“So, we are losing a lot of donors through age, medical status and everything,” Yamane said, “so we need the younger generation to step it up and start donating as much as you can.”
“Only 37% of the people of the population is eligible to give blood. If you’re eligible, you should do it. If I can do it, you can do it,” Barnes said. “I just found this out on this trip, but you can be 16 years old and donate blood, so as far as the younger generation, let’s start!”
One local father had even inspired his daughter — not yet 16 — to help out.
“Every night before I donate the next day, she likes to paint my nails red. So, she always has a little part in me donating,” Dustin Guillermo said.
Check out more news from around Hawaii
Barnes knows that everyone can’t bike across across the country, but he said that if he can spend almost an entire year to spread the message of giving back, everyone who is eligible should spare an hour to donate.