AlohaCare Monthly Check Up: Cord blood donations - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

AlohaCare Monthly Check Up: Cord blood donations

Sarah Beppu Sarah Beppu
Chrystie Fujimoto Chrystie Fujimoto
Leigh Barbieto Leigh Barbieto
Randy Wada Randy Wada
Rio Banner Rio Banner

By Tannya Joaquin - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A precious, life-saving resource is thrown away everyday at Hawaii hospitals. Many parents don't even realize you can donate umbilical cord blood to a public bank, much like you donate regular blood. We take a look at the benefits for our monthly check-up.

"It's such a painless and easy way to potentially help someone else get a second chance," said Sarah Beppu whose daughter donated cord blood.

"It's something that's lifesaving, easy to do. I recommend to all of my patients," said Dr. Chrystie Fujimoto.

Dr. Chrystie Fujimoto is an OB-GYN so she knows that the umbilical cord is a lifeline for patients fighting deadly diseases. But, very few parents decide to donate even though it's free.

"A couple of people have approached and said we're happy you give cord blood because we have family members who have passed away because they couldn't find marrow, so it means a lot," said Leigh Barbieto.

"It's way more forgiving than adult bone marrow so you don't have to match as closely," said Hawaii Cord Blood Bank Director, Dr. Randy Wada.

"We've read stories where blood taken from Hawaii has helped people in France, children and adults," said Beppu.

Hawaii's donor's unique backgrounds are a huge help.

"I think the blending of ethnicities is the advantage for Hawaii's population." said Aloha Care Medical Director Dr. Rio Banner.

And it's still in its infancy.

"It's relatively new, 10-15 years. The technology is really a step forward. We might be able to use transplant as cellular therapy to correct defects like diabetes arthritis, Parkinson's even things like spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy," said Banner.

So far, 50 of the cord blood units collected by the Hawaii Cord Blood Bank have provided matches for transplant patients worldwide. Recipients range in age from one to 67 years.

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