Kato, Ota pump out productive Blood Drive


Photo by Faith Owan

Seniors Kandace Ota and Kylee Kato both organized the Blood Drive held at Kamehameha Maui on October 19. The drive was also Kato’s senior project.

Seniors Kylee Kato and Kandace Ota organized the annual blood drive, which brought in 65 pints of blood, today in Ka’ulaheanuiokamoku Gymnasium.

Kato, a Science and Natural Resources Academy Health endorsee, was the head of the event, and she was advised by Ms. Brandy Cajudoy, who has coordinated the effort at Kamehameha Maui for over 10 years.

“I think that the Blood Drive is a great way to help others and save lives,” Kato said.

Co-chair Kandace Ota said she helped with the event because of its impact on the community and the insight she’d gain into the medical field. She worked as a recruitment officer, texting all the seniors she knew and posting signs around school to attract donors.

Even with all their efforts, the girls were not able to get the 85 donors they had hoped for.

Ota said that the requirements for blood donors made recruiting them challenging. Volunteers had to be at least 17 years, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not have a fear of needles, among other requirements.

“It was kind of hard because you had a really specific crowd to look for,” she said.

One of the blood donors was senior Māhie Kama, who’s also in the Health Endorsement.

“We kind of learn about how there’s always, like, a shortage of blood and how just a little bit will always help someone,” Kama said.

The donors each gave one pint of blood, which can be used for a variety of patients, ranging from someone who has been in a car crash to one battling cancer.

“Donating blood is really important for hospitals,” Kato said. “A lot of people don’t realize that, but just from one donor you can save three lives.”

Blood donors who came to the event first went to registration, where they filled out their medical information and history. Then they had a mini physical where their blood pressure and heart rates were checked. Maui Blood Bank workers also pricked their fingers to test for hemoglobin levels, which will tell if you have enough iron in their blood to proceed. If they passed the physical and were deemed eligible to donate, they went on to get it drawn.

After getting blood taken, the patients were supposed to rest for at least five minutes for their bodies to get used to the blood loss. When they were ready, they came out into the lobby area where they could eat snacks.

Kato said that the food was there to “replenish all of the nutrients and minerals that they lost.” There was juice, granola bars, fruit, and pretzels to help with restoring salt and sugar to their bodies.

Kato also pulled names randomly from the sign-ups and gave prizes to the donors. Prizes included blankets, Jamba Juice gift cards, popcorn with a movie ticket, and the grand prize of a pink Polaroid camera, which went to senior Brennan Joaquin.