In anticipation of rail construction, blood bank moves donation center

In anticipation of rail construction, blood bank moves donation center

KALIHI (HawaiiNewsNow) - In 2014, rail officials told Blood Bank of Hawaii its Kalihi donation center would be impacted by rail construction.

So last year, the organization spent more than $1 million renovating a new home on Young Street. It's already open, even though rail construction hasn't started in Kalihi.

"We wanted to make sure, no. 1, that donors have access, ample parking," says Kim-Anh Nguyen, president of the Blood Bank of Hawaii.

Lane reductions, gridlock, and noise have hurt businesses all along the Waipahu, Pearl City and Aiea rail route.

Some businesses were forced to close or cut back hours.

Donors applauded the move, meant to ensure no interruption in the Blood Bank's mission.

"I do like that they did it so far in advance, they could take their time," says longtime blood donor Gerald Yamane.

On Tuesday, he was donating for the 500th time in 40 years. He has donated at the original location at the Queen's Medical Center, then at the Dillingham location. He's following the Blood Bank to it's new center.

Nguyen said the organization hopes "the donors will move with us, but we know it takes time to change,"

The Blood Bank's distribution center and office are still in Kalihi, but Nguyen says she is looking for other locations for those operations, too.

Nguyen says she's not against the rail, but says the organization has to make donating blood convenient or their numbers will drop.

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