Nations worldwide will celebrate life this Sunday, June 14, in honor of World Blood Donor Day. It is a day set aside to thank those who voluntarily donate their blood without any hope or expectation of reward.
But Kalihi resident Christopher Chun did receive a very special reward for his recent donation - the exclusive Century Donor status, a significant personal milestone denoting that at 9 a.m. June 3, Chun donated his 100th pint of whole blood to the Blood Bank of Hawaii.
As the 56-year-old reclines on a bed in the Dillingham Donor Center, it seemed as if he were right at home. In fact, he just may be.
Chun gave his first pint in 1980 in support of his employer’s Lifesaver Club and continued to give at least once a year, but it wasn’t until his mother become ill in early 1990 and needed a blood transfusion every month that he made donating an unbreakable habit.
“I saw the need for blood in real terms, and I was inspired to give more often,” Chun remembers. “In the last 10 years, I’ve pretty much given regularly every eight weeks. I made a goal of reaching 100 pints. My goal is to keep on giving as long as I’m healthy to do so.
“If I reach another 100, great, but the number is not important to me. I just want to stay healthy and stay on schedule and give about every eight weeks.”
Whether you’re giving you’re 100th pint or first, Chun says the staff at the Blood Bank makes the process easy and stress-free. Plus, it costs nothing more than an hour of your time.
That is why Chun hopes more people will get out and give whole blood on June 14, especially those who carry the universal O-positive blood type, because since whole blood is separated into its three components - red blood cells, plasma and platelets - one donation really saves three lives.
“When you think about how your donation will save someone’s life, maybe somebody you know, it makes you appreciate how important it is to give blood. For me, it’s a spiritually and emotionally rewarding experience, and I look forward to doing it again and again.”
World Blood Donor Day is sponsored by the World Heath Organization, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations and the International Society of Blood Transfusion. To celebrate, Nexcare Bandages and America’s Blood Centers, of which the Blood Bank of Hawaii is a founding member, have formed a partnership for a new initiative to make blood donation a national priority. Nexcare also created a special bandage that the Blood Bank of Hawaii will give to donors throughout the summer or until the supply is exhausted.
For more information about the Blood Bank of Hawaii and to find a blood drive near you, go to www.bbh.org.
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