‘Wherever they go, I go’

HANAMAULU — Ray Domingo of Hanamaulu has donated almost 200 pints of blood.

“Blood is always needed, and as long as I’m healthy, why no do it?” he said.

Domingo started donating blood in the 1970s.

“At that time, we could only give once a year,” he said. “I feel fortunate that I can donate every two months now.”

Domingo is the highest donor on Kauai, said Vanessa Sim, communication specialist for Blood Bank of Hawaii.

Hearing stories of the people who are in need of donations inspires Domingo.

“There’s always someone who needs multiple blood donations. And when you hear those stories, and what they go through, it makes you want to give more,” he said.

Even if the blood drives, hosted by Blood Bank of Hawaii, are in Hanalei or Waimea, Domingo said he makes sure he’s one of the first in line.

“I want to make sure I give,” he said. “Wherever they go, I go.”

Domingo isn’t the only Kauai resident who regularly donates blood. Sally Kimura of Kilauea has given blood 127 times.

“I started long ago. I used to do it once a year, but my cousin’s son got into a car accident,” she said. “After that, I said, ‘He needs blood, I have to donate.’”

Kimura, who tries to donate every two months, said she is disappointed when she doesn’t have time to.

“It’s a wonderful thing, and I feel honored that I can give,” she said.

The Blood Bank of Hawaii comes to Kauai every two months for three days. In June, they collected 238 units of blood. The goal was 265, Sim said.

There are 734 active blood donors on Kauai, she added.

More people should take the time to donate blood, Domingo said.

“There’s 71,000-something people on Kauai, but only a handful of donors,” he said. “It’s sad that we can only get 300 people to donate in three days.”

People only think about donating blood when something happens to a family member, Domingo added.

“It’s a shame. I wish I could tell people to give blood now, and don’t wait for something to happen,” he said.

Kimura agreed.

“Everyone should donate because you never know when you yourself might need it,” she said.

The fear of needles or blood is a minor thing, compared to saving someone’s life, she pointed out.

“Needles are minor, and you’re saving someone’s life,” she said. “That person is lucky to get your type of blood.”

The Blood Bank of Hawaii will be on Kauai from Aug. 8 to Aug. 10.

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