In the mood to give this season? What about a blood donation? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

In the mood to give this season? What about a blood donation?

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Brandt Izumo, age 10 Brandt Izumo, age 10
Brandt Izumo, today Brandt Izumo, today
Wendy Abe Wendy Abe

This season of giving can mean more than just contributing cash or feeding the hungry. A donation to the Blood Bank of Hawaii can help save lives. We talked to one young survivor whose desire is to inspire others to donate.

Brandt Izumo remembers when, at 10 years old, doctors diagnosed him with "Corn's" disease. He says, "In the beginning I thought, 'Well, I don't like corn, Mom. How do I have a disease about corn? Just because a lack of corn that I was eating?'

Turns out, it was really "Crohn's" disease - a bowel disorder that causes inflammation in the digestive system lining. He looked pale, was losing weight, and needed nine units of blood to save his life.

"Hearing that I needed blood was scarier than seeing the packet of blood. Seeing the packet of blood was kind of like that salvation of, you understand that it's there to help you get better. The concept of needing that, knowing that your body's not able to produce the amount that it needs, is much scarier."

The now 21 year old feels so strongly that donations saved him – and is so grateful - that he speaks to groups and schools about the benefits of giving. National statistics show 60% of the population will need blood sometime in their lives. Here in Hawaii, though, only 2% donate.

The Blood Bank of Hawaii needs at least 220 pints a day to keep an ample supply - meaning hundreds of donors must come in daily. The need is especially high during the holidays.

"We'll probably be seeing less donor turnout, and it's really because people are busy. We're shopping. We're partying," says Blood Bank of Hawaii Vice-President, Wendy Abe, "and as you know, blood donations can't take a holiday."

A person can give a total of seven times a year, and you don't get paid. When Izumo sees strangers around town with donor wristbands, he goes right up to thank them. He tells them, "You don't know it, but you did a good deed in giving blood and I was actually a person, at one time, who needed blood."

Last year, 25,000 donors in Hawaii gave more 58,000 pints of blood. Maybe this could be your year to give, too.

For more information on how to give, log onto www.bbh.org.

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