HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sharon Bartels, a 15 year blood donor, likes to stay busy, with the blood coursing though her veins as she powers through the waves off Kailua beach.
Ever thankful to have such an active lifestyle, she gives back to her community by supporting the blood bank of Hawaii.
"After a couple of times donating, I got that it was really important work to be doing, so that's how I got hooked," says Bartels.
At twenty years old she got so hooked that she began donating twice a year, but never really minding what happened after that.
"Every day we need about 200 pints which means about 200 donors," she said.
The blood bank is tasked with providing blood to all civilian hospitals in the state. But finding donors at this time of year proves difficult.
"A lot of donors being on vacation being busy with shopping and what not," says Zoe Nguyen.
After fifteen years of donating blood to others, Sharon found herself needing to count on others to donate for her.
"I took myself to the castle medical center and within two hours, I had a diagnosis of leukemia," she says.
At the age of thirty five, Sharon's own future sank away, scared, not knowing what would come next.
"I was afraid I was confused. I knew that it could be fatal but I didn't know what that meant for me."
"It meant a long debilitating struggle with chemotherapy, drugs and a constant need for that one precious ingredient, blood."
"At least fifty pints of blood and platelets."
Sharon powered though it and eventually championed her illness. She now stands hand in hand with the blood bank sharing her story with a very simple message.
"I survived because I got blood from people. If there had been a shortage there a good…there's a good possibility I would not have lived…without the blood."