DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Blood Bank of Hawaii hopes the new bloodmobile, shown here parked at Punahou School, will increase blood collection capacity. On the bloodmobile are life-size pictures of actual donors in Hawaii.
Gift of life easier in new bloodmobile
The portrait-packing vehicle started making the rounds last week
Fifteen-year-old Brandt Izumo lay in a hospital bed with a serious gastrointestinal disease three years ago with medical tubes keeping him alive.
People interested in donating blood must:
» Be in good health.
» Be 18 years of age or older (17 with parental consent).
» Weigh 110 pounds or more.
» Bring a valid photo ID.
The donation process takes about an hour and includes some paperwork and a short physical. The actual collection of blood takes five to eight minutes.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 845-9966 or visit www.bbh.org.
He recovered with the help of nine pints of blood from donors he never met. Today, he not only encourages his friends to donate blood, but also thousands of Hawaii motorists who happen to see the Blood Bank of Hawaii's bloodmobile, which hit the road Tuesday.
Life-size images of Izumo and other blood recipients and donors decorate the blue and yellow sides of the 45-foot vehicle.
"I'm glad that I can share my story with others," he said. "The bloodmobile and other blood drives are kind of what saved me."
With the Blood Bank's first bloodmobile being more than a decade old, the added space will help to increase blood collection capacity and enhance disaster preparedness.
An extra blood donor bed and medical history area enable nursing specialists to work with donors more efficiently than on the original 34-foot bloodmobile. The bloodmobile also allows donors to register through a remote wireless service.
"We were always bumping into each other on the other mobile," said specialist Meredith Marsh, who worked for the first time on the bloodmobile at Tuesday's Punahou School blood drive.
Hoping to collect at least 45 pints of blood, the Blood Bank tallied more than 50 pints at the drive, an exceptional amount for a bloodmobile, Marsh said.
Many donors first give blood while in high school, Blood Bank of Hawaii spokeswoman Stephanie Rosso said. Targeting younger generations helped increase the number of pints collected last year by more than 1,000.
The nonprofit organization hosted 200 blood drives on the original bloodmobile last year. The Blood Bank expects an increase in that number this year.
"I was a little nervous at first, but the colors and pictures on the bloodmobile made me feel more welcomed," said Punahou senior Mallory Klum, who donated blood for the first time.
Those featured on the bloodmobile represent everyday people, Rosso said. A banner notifying people that an hour of their time could save three lives is also displayed.
Henry Miner, the 59-year-old fisherman whose image is on the passenger side of the vehicle, donated his rare Polynesian blood type for the more than 40 years.
"Others can see what kind of people are giving blood," he said. "We're just like everyone else."
Miner and his two brothers began donating blood when their mother needed a transfusion to help save her life.
A blessing of the lifesaving vehicle took place on Monday at the donor center in Kalihi. The bloodmobile will travel to businesses and neighborhoods on Oahu to provide a convenient way for people to donate.
With 2 percent of the eligible Hawaii population donating blood, hundreds of patients still depend on volunteer blood donors for their survival.