HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Blood Bank of Hawaii is calling on all donors to roll up their sleeves and give back.
A critical shortage of O-negative blood has eased since June 2022 but Hawaii is still not fully stocked.
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The Blood Bank of Hawaii was down to just about a half-day supply of O-negative blood in June.
“And we have come back up pretty close to what we need, we need to be at a three-day supply, we’re a little bit under that right now,” said Justin Martin, Blood Bank of Hawaii marketing manager.
Officials said there is a reminder of how fragile the supply really is as the remnants of Darby brush along the Big Island’s southern shores.
“We’re one multi-car wreck away from being in a position where it could get pretty dicey pretty quick,” Martin said.
One resident started donating blood 18 months ago. She said she wanted to help after hearing about a coworker’s friend who had complications with her pregnancy.
“They had to give the baby a transfusion and I thought, ‘Wow, what if it’s critical?’ If she didn’t have a blood transfusion, she would not have survived and now she’s actually doing very well,” said Anna Casey, “I heard she’s at home now and she’s doing very well and she’s thriving.”
The Blood Bank is working with local nonprofit HUGS to provide hopsital amenity kits, support programs and airfare assistance for Hawaii’s critically ill children for every donation through the end of August.
“Anything that provides some kind of support as a hug to our HUGS families,” said HUGS development director Alex Wereszczynski. “They have situations ranging from cancer, lukemia, anything goes that usually most of them require some kind of blood transfusion.”
The Blood Bank said a fear of needles is what usually holds folks back from coming in. Casey has that fear but overcomes it every time.
“I don’t like needles, but that’s nothing compared — I just tolerate it because I know I can sacrifice that to save people’s lives,” Casey said. “Hopefully when they hear me talking about this, that they will come in and donate blood.”
“We are really struggling to hit our July goals. So, we do hope that people will come in, finish this month strong, finish this summer strong,” Martin said.
Click here for more information on donating to the Blood Bank of Hawaii.
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The Blood Bank said all types are needed, but type O-negative — known as the universal donor — and platelets — which have a shorter shelf life — are in highest demand.