Blood donations needed most during the holidays
Close to death and saved by the blood of others. The act of giving is so great this holiday season, especially for one couple who knows it's giving them a future.
HONOLULU - A bout of Rheumatic Fever when he was four would put Edgar Quinabo on a shaky ride for decades to come.
"I get tired easy, and sometimes I have a hard time breathing. And I can't really do physical things," said Quinabo.
His wife, Frankie, is his rock. He went through surgery to replace a leaking aortic valve with a pig's valve, then a mechanical one. And last year, another big hospital stay for open heart surgery.
"This one, they have to crack me open and fix everything in there," said Quinabo.
"Little overwhelming what we went through the last time," said Frankie.
The latest surgery needed huge amounts of blood -- 17 units -- nearly double the volume of blood in his entire body.
"If they hadn't donated their blood I wouldn't have my husband," said Frankie.
In the hall at the Blood Bank of Hawaii, two blood donors. Two of many.
Jay Agustin donated after a friend was diagnosed with leukemia. Now he's surpassed 110.
And Mike Fase is catching up with his dad's generosity through the power of a warm heart.
"I love it. I'm glad I'm doing a good thing for them. And everybody else," said Fase.
"To me, I find it an easy way to help someone," said Agustin.
"We really need to be the stewards of Hawaii's blood supply," said Blood Bank of Hawaii President & CEO Kim-Ahn Nguyen.
Nguyen knows. She says mainland blood can take up to three days to get here arriving, at times,with most of the fragile plasma -- broken and unusable.
And she says summertime and the holidays are when donations drop off the most.
"During the holidays is when we have our traffic accidents and our trauma so, greater use and lower use means shortages," said Nguyen.
But, today is about celebrating those who have helped -- for Edgar, Frankie and countless others in our community.
"I just want to say thank you very much for your donation. Thank for time and everything," said Edgar.
Nguyen says, on average, they get about 150 blood donations a day. But, during last week's heavy rains, donations dropped off dramatically.
As for Frankie and Edgar, they're looking forward to a future filled with travel. Next on the list -- a trip to Tahiti.