Rare gift


POSTED: Thursday, July 02, 2009

Teddy Bolocano is one of the regular donors at the Blood Bank of Hawaii, but he stands out from the rest.





        The Blood Bank is encouraging people to give this holiday weekend:

» Tomorrow: 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Dr. K.B. Chun & Sons; 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the cultural center of the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Kaneohe First Ward; 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Manoa Marketplace; and from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dillingham Donor Center.


» Saturday: 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Town Center of Mililani, and 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pearlridge Center.


» Sunday: 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Hawaii Kai Towne Center, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dillingham Donor Center.


To learn more about the blood drives, visit www.bbh.org or call 845-9966.




His blood type of Jk3-negative is only found in one of 10,000 people in Hawaii, according to the Blood Bank. In its 68-year history, the Blood Bank has only identified 92 similar donors. Of those, only 19 are active donors today.

Jk3-negative blood is most commonly found in Polynesians and Asians, but doctors don't understand why. Bolocano, who is part-Filipino and part-Hawaiian, has donated blood every two months since he first discovered the rarity in 2006.

“;If I could give every month, I would,”; said Bolocano, a cook at Good to Grill in Kapahulu.

He said it was “;just by chance”; that he donated blood after seeing a blood-drive poster during physical therapy. A couple weeks after donating, Bolocano received a letter about his rare blood type.

Dr. Randal Covin, the Blood Bank's associate medical director, explained that red blood cells have hundreds of markers called antigens. Nearly every one has some type of Jk3 marker, but Bolocano's red blood cells don't have any, meaning he inherited two blank genes from his parents, said Covin.

“;I'm happy because I can help other people with the same blood type, but I also think, 'What if I need that blood type one day?'”; Bolocano said.

Almost anyone can receive his blood, but Bolocano's body will accept only Jk3-negative blood.

Bolocano initially didn't want to talk about his unique blood type but spoke to the media when he learned it could inspire more people to donate blood.

“;If more people are aware of it, more people will donate, and maybe one of those donations will come up the same type as mine,”; said Bolocano. “;I think people tend to wait until something happens.”;

Bolocano said that he thinks people make too many excuses to avoid donating blood, saying they're too busy or scared of needles.

“;I hate needles, but I just fight it,”; he said. “;Once (people) sacrifice that second of pain, that's it.”;