According to Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry’s recruitment specialist Roy Yonashiro, approximately 73,000 donors in Hawaii and 8.2 million donors nationwide are registered in the Be The Match Registry - all hoping to save a life. But even with that impressive number, he says, the fewest register donors are of mixed ethnicities.
Yonashiro hopes to change that with HBMDR’s second annual Give2LiveII “Hot Fun in the Summertime” set for 6 p.m. June 25 at the Dole Ballrooms in Iwilei.
“The proceeds raised from the event will be used for our recruitment and education activities in Hawaii,” says Yonashiro, who has been working with HBMDR for the past 16 years.
“I understand there are many organizations and causes out there asking for help, but without our program, patients in Hawaii will have to count on bone marrow drives on the Mainland or elsewhere to find donors. That will make their chances even more difficult,” he says. “Help keep the registry alive and help us continue our mission to help save lives.”
The concert will feature Powerhouse, a funky R&B soul band performing the music of Tower of Power, Earth, Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Motown and more. There also will be 14 guest musicians from bands of the 1970s, who will join Powerhouse on stage throughout the evening. Local artists Ben Vegas and Maila Gibson also are in the lineup.
Heavy pupus will be served, and there will be a balloon raffle for prizes. Tickets cost $50 each ($20 tax deductible) or reserved tables of 10 are available for $500 ($200 tax deductible) or tables of 12 ($240 tax deductible).
“A highlight of the evening will be a first-time meeting on stage between a local donor, Kathy Fu, and her bone marrow recipient, Tyler Warren, who lives in Illinois,” Yonashiro explains. “Kathy donated three times to save Tyler’s life when he was battling leukemia. Now Tyler and his family are flying to Honolulu to finally meet his hero.”
Yonashiro began volunteering at HBMDR in 1990 when his wife Annie’s classmate Patricia Tamashiro was diagnosed with leukemia and needed to find a bone marrow donor for a life-saving transplant. He was then hired in 1994 as a full-time recruiter, and in March 2005 he appeared on MidWeek‘s cover. Since then, Yonashiro has been busy recruiting volunteer donors, meeting and consulting patients and their families/friends in the marrow drive process, and overseeing public relations, education and participating in community awareness events, among other duties.
“When a drive is successful, it’s not only in terms of how many donors signed up, but how many ‘got it,‘meaning they got the message that when you register to become a volunteer donor, you must want to help anyone in need,” Yonashiro says. “It’s not important who they are, how old they are or where they’re from, everyone matters and everyone deserves a chance.
“When a candle lights another candle, the flame still burns strong,“Yonashiro says. “You could be that light in someone’s life.”
For additional details on Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry, call 547-6154 or 1-877-443-6667 (toll-free from the Neighbor Islands) or visit www.bethematch.org.
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