2 isles to host bone marrow drives
Leukemia patient Darlene Araki urges people to sign up
Bone marrow drives are planned this month in Honolulu and on the Big Island to help patients such as Darlene Araki find a bone marrow match.
Hilton Waikoloa Village is joining St. Francis Hospital of Honolulu to sponsor a bone marrow drive in its Kohala Ballroom Two from noon to 6 p.m. June 30 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 1.
The hotel "is proud to support and implement the bone marrow drive," Evangeline Sobrepena, director of human resources at the village, said in a news release. "Our inspiration stems from Darlene Araki, assistant director of human resources, who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in June 2005."
Araki, undergoing treatment on Oahu and awaiting a lifesaving bone marrow transplant, encouraged Big Island residents ages 18 to 60 to register as bone marrow donors.
"Saving a life is a valuable gift," she said.
She also advised that people visit their doctor and ask for a blood test if they have signs or symptoms of leukemia, such as fatigue, bruising or an unknown cough.
"This disease is often masked and misdiagnosed as a cold or flu," she said.
Bone marrow drives also will be held Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Asian-American Journalists Association Convention 2006 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.
On Sunday a drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Christ United Methodist Church, 1639 Keeaumoku St.
The Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry and all other donor centers are using a "buccal swab" technique to collect a sample from a donor's mouth instead of taking a blood sample.
It is then sent to the National Marrow Donor Program repository for testing and storage, said Roy Yonashiro, donor recruitment coordinator at the registry. "The registration is quick, simple and painless," he said.
For more information, call the registry at 547-6154 or visit www.stfrancishawaii.org/hawaiibonemarrow.