LIHUE — Jim Mayfield knows what it’s like to be in need of extra blood and not be able to get it.
“My daughter was suffering from brain cancer, and before she died, she needed some blood. It was the Sunday night after Thanksgiving, and for the first time ever, the hospital didn’t have any blood,” he said.
“I was getting upset and kept asking myself why — I’ve been giving blood for many years, and the one time someone in my family needed it, they didn’t have any.”
Mayfield, who lives in Lihue, said blood was shipped from Oahu the next day, and his daughter lived for another three weeks.
“When I asked the Blood Bank what happened, they said they were short on blood,” he said. “That made me think about it.”
That’s why, on Friday, Mayfield planned to be in line at 7:45 a.m. to give blood before enjoying his day off.
“I’ve talked to people, and I know now how difficult it is for blood banks to keep their pools after Thanksgiving and Christmas,” he said.
The Blood Bank of Hawaii will host three drives in December:
- Dec. 5: Kapaa High School library from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
- Dec. 6: Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall from 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
- Dec. 7: Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall from 7:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
The Blood Bank of Hawaii is on Kauai every two months for three days. There are over 700 active donors on the Garden Isle.
Mayfield is one of them. He’s been donating blood since he was 18, when he was a freshman at Dartmouth College.
“I’ve been doing it since they offered free beer in college. There was a contest, where the dorm with the highest percentage of donors got free beer,” he said.
Mayfield, now 62, has given 139 pints of blood.
“I grew up in a family where you were always part in the community. God has given me good blood, so I feel inclined to give my good blood.”
Donating blood hits close to home for Mayfield because both of his daughters have been in need of it. His oldest daughter was in eighth-grade when she was hospitalized and received five pints of blood.
“In her mind, she owed five pints of blood. She was disappointed when she was turned down because her iron was too low,” he said.
But the next time she tried, her iron levels were back up, and she has since been able to donate five pints of blood.
Mark Hubbard, also of Lihue, is another long-time donor. He has donated about 178 pints of blood in 40 years.
“Only we can donate blood. It’s something that is needed, and there’s no substitute for it,” he said.
While Hubbard said he faints at the sign of blood, it doesn’t bother him to donate it.
“It’s a great feeling when you donate blood. It’s pretty easy, and it doesn’t take too long,” he said.
Hubbard’s advice for nervous first-time donors is focusing on the positives.
“Focus on someone else’s needs,” he said. “You’re helping save a life, and it’s not often you can do that.”
In the 200 times he’s donated blood, Mayfield said there’s only been one bad stick, and that was only because another donor was causing a scene and distracting the phlebotomists.
Mayfield also takes the time to donate blood while on vacation.
“I’ve done it twice. Once, I flew into Washington, D.C. and had some time, so I ended up donating blood at the headquarters of the American Red Cross.”