CUH and SLS Blood Drive, Each Donation ‘Can Save Up To Three Lives’


Cara Gutierrez

On Thursday, Chaminade and Saint Louis hosted a joint blood drive in Saint Louis’ Presidential Suite.

Did you know that Hawaiʻi needs more than 200 blood donors every day?

On Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Chaminade University collaborated with Saint Louis School and held a joint blood drive in Saint Louis’ Presidential Suite. Students, faculty and staff from both schools donated to the blood bank, which supports all 18 civilian hospitals in the state. Blood Bank of Hawaii has relied on Chaminade for donors since 1992.

Melissa “Ezzie” Dela Cruz, OSAL’s health and wellness specialist, hosted the event and is a regular blood donor herself. The fourth-year works in the emergency room at Adventist Health Castle and is a medical assistant and scribe at Primary Care Clinic of Hawaiʻi.

“When you donate blood, you technically can save up to three lives,” Dela Cruz said, who is majoring in Cellular & Molecular Biology at Chaminade. “My first-hand experience seeing what it’s like to see donated blood go to a patient … we were able to save a person from a car accident because of that donated blood.”

BBH is responsible for supplying a safe and adequate supply of blood for transfusions in Hawaiʻi. Because it’s a locally based and self-sufficient organization, the recruiters and organizers have a healthy amount of anxiety daily to provide life support for patients around the islands.

Rachel Montemayor, who helped donors check in at the blood drive, expressed that BBH is facing a national shortage and that transferring blood is important because “you can’t recreate it.” With the lack of donations due to Covid-19, BBH had to revamp the way it obtained blood contributions. For example, on Oʻahu, instead of going to businesses, schools, or churches, it started pop-up bloodmobile drives at different locations on the island to attract people working from home.

“We depend on the community,” Montemayor, BBH’s senior recruiter, said. “We did a really good job as an organization to be nimble and flexible with the situation. We definitely changed our operations to have more fixed sites, we redirected our resources… We already had strong relationships.”

At the last blood drive Chaminade hosted in March, Melissa Morgan, the donor recruitment account manager at BBH, said the top reason people don’t donate is because they have yet to be asked. According to BBH, about 2 percent of people in the state donate blood and statistics say that the likelihood of someone who enters the hospital needing blood is 60 percent.

“We get very scared,” Morgan said. “I know most people walk around not thinking about Blood Bank. … Unless you’ve had somebody who’s needed it or you’ve been somebody who donates regularly in school or at work, you might not be thinking about it just because you haven’t been asked and you’re just not educated.”

Luke Wilson is a high school senior at Saint Louis and donated blood for the first time on Thursday.

“I could go without some of it,” said the 17-year-old, who donated after being asked by his counselor. “Might as well save lives if they need it.

Chaminade continues to support BBH and Hawaiʻi’s community by hosting blood drives every semester. This is one of the many health and wellness initiatives that OSAL does for the student body. BBH asks donors and those who are educated to encourage friends and family members to give.