Shannon Warfield, above, sits in Kapiolani Medical Center reconstructive surgery to reattach both of his arms, which were severed in a construction accident in 1993.
Isle blood donors helped save woman’s 2 sons
Velma Warfield almost lost her two sons in 1993, but she says the generosity of strangers saved their lives.
Her son Shannon had both arms severed in a construction accident and needed multiple blood transfusions.
To make a blood donation appointment, contact the Blood Bank of Hawaii at 845-9966 or 800-372-9966 from the neighbor islands.
On the Net: The Blood Bank of Hawaii Web site is at www.bbh.org.
A month later, her son Keahi became seriously ill with what the doctors thought was a simple flu. Months later, they diagnosed him with a rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphoid tissue.
Thirteen years later, Warfield shared her story with 350 people at the Blood Bank of Hawaii's annual donor recognition luncheon yesterday afternoon. It was the first time she was able to thank the strangers who helped save her sons, who survived in large part thanks to the dozens of pints of blood each received.
"You have given a part of your life," Warfield, 55, of Hilo told the donors yesterday. "You have saved both of my sons' lives, and forever for that I will be thankful."
The blood bank collected about 58,000 pints of blood last year from more than 26,000 donors. The blood bank holds an annual event to thank its top donors who have given at least 100 pints of blood in their lifetime.
His brother Keahi Warfield is shown as a teenager while receiving cancer treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Thirteen years later, both are healthy and doing well thanks to the help of blood donors.
Cynthia Bond has donated 117 pints of blood but stopped recently because she had cancer treatment. Every year, she loves hearing recipients' stories because it reminds her of the reason why she gave blood.
"When you give blood, it's to an anonymous recipient," said Bond, 61, of Hawaii Kai. "When you hear their stories, you realize it's a person you helped."
Shannon was 20 years old at the time of his accident at a warehouse in Kau. He was 30 feet high in a hydraulic lift when the operator lost control. Shannon braced himself by holding on to the sides of the basket. When the basket slammed into the ground, the impact severed both of his arms, his mother said.
"I wanted to hold him and comfort him, but how can you hug him when there's nowhere to touch him?" Warfield said. "He was bandaged and hurt so badly. When I looked into his eyes, tears were falling on his cheeks."
Shannon went through 10 hours of reconstructive surgery, where the doctors were able to reattach his arms. Shannon is now 33 years old and about to become a father in April.
At age 13, Keahi became ill and started breaking out in mosquitolike bites that would disappear as fast as they came. In a matter of weeks, he went from weighing 144 pounds to 98 pounds.
"I could see my son disappearing before me," Warfield said.
Keahi needed routine transfusions of blood platelets during his cancer treatment. He made a full recovery.
Now 27, Keahi is a Hawaiian-language teacher on Kauai.
Warfield said she prayed for the donors of each bag of blood her sons needed.
"When they say my son only has Portuguese, Hawaiian, Chinese and Spanish blood, I say that he also has Japanese, Filipino, all kinds of blood," Warfield joked. "He has a piece of all of you."