by Chung So
Retired civil engineer Fred Sakurai was recognized for an achievement that only two other people have received — he has donated 100 units of whole blood to City of Hope.
“Considering that a person can donate whole blood once every 56 days, or about six times a year, that’s an impressive record,” said Jill Schwarz, manager of whole blood and platelet donor recruitment at the Blood Donor Apheresis Center. Schwarz also noted that recognition awards are given for the 20th and 50th whole blood donations, as well as 40th, 100th and 200th platelet donations.
And at a pint per donation, Sakurai, 70, has given the equivalent of 12.5 gallons of blood, or about 10 persons’ worth (the average adult has about 10 to 12 pints of blood). Sakurai has been happy to donate whenever possible.
“Not everyone is physically able to give blood, so anyone who could, should,” he said, “to keep the blood bank numbers up.”
Schwarz noted that regular whole blood and platelet donors are important to City of Hope, since more than 30,000 units are transfused annually.
“City of Hope patients use more blood and platelets per day than those in many other hospitals in Southern California, and any units that we cannot collect, we have to buy from outsiders,” Schwarz said. “All blood products donated with us stay at City of Hope and therefore will directly impact one of our patients.”
Sakurai said that he had always been a regular blood donor but started donating at City of Hope in 1983.
“I started donating with City of Hope because my wife, Charlene, started working here and I learned that it has a blood bank,” Sakurai said. “I keep coming back because of the skill and professionalism of the people drawing blood here. Also, I know the blood I donate will affect someone right here at City of Hope.”
Even though he passed the rarely achieved 100-unit milestone, Sakurai plans to continue donating.
“I’m going to keep giving until they say they won’t take it anymore,” he said.
For more information on donating whole blood or platelets at City of Hope, please visit the center’s Web site at www.cityofhope.org/BloodDonorCenter or call 626-471-7171.