An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
By Michael Easterling | February 12, 2020
The first time Wing Kau Fung donated blood, he fainted. But he knew he was doing something good, so he didn’t let that queasy experience deter him. He would donate as often as needed to help save lives. Fung’s purpose for donating became much more personal when he learned that Jenny Hirata, the daughter of colleague Lynn Hosozawa, had been diagnosed with leukemia.
 
“When texting and social media didn’t exist, I had to recruit blood and platelet donors for my daughter the old-fashioned way, by making phone calls,” Hosozawa said. “It was time consuming, but I could always count on Wing.” A steady supply of blood and platelets was critical during Jenny’s treatment as she underwent tests, a surgery and rounds of chemotherapy — all to beat cancer. And she did.
 
For a while.
 
Jenny relapsed in the summer before sixth grade. A bone marrow transplant was her only hope for a cure. Much to Hosozawa's shock, Jenny's medical team at another hospital told her they would not perform the procedure, stating it was too risky. Hosozawa was advised to take her daughter home and enjoy the time they had left.
 
Determined to save her daughter, the family brought Jenny to City of Hope.
 
Hosozawa's initial contact at City of Hope was with hematologist Joseph Rosenthal, M.D., the Barron Hilton Chair in Pediatrics.
 
“Right from the start, I was impressed with the encouraging staff and the approach City of Hope is known for — treatment of the whole patient,” Hosozawa said. “Best of all, City of Hope would be performing Jenny’s lifesaving transplant! It was the miracle I was praying for.”  
 
Throughout this time, Fung had become a regular platelet donor for Jenny. It wasn’t long before Fung and Hosozawa's nurturing friendship gave way to love, a love that eventually led to marriage. Through the highs and the lows, Fung, Hosozawa, Jenny and her brother Miles endured it all — together, as a family.
 
Fung is currently principal of Castelar Elementary School in Los Angeles. Despite his intense work schedule, he continues to donate blood regularly at City of Hope. He explained that in addition to the satisfaction of helping to save lives, being a frequent blood donor has another payoff — it helps him stay in shape.
 
"I want to give City of Hope the best blood possible,” he explained. “I work out regularly and ride with my bicycle club.” Whenever he donates, he always checks the color of his blood. “If it’s dark instead of bright red, I know there’s not enough oxygen so I need to rev up my exercise routine,” he said.  Wing is happy to donate because he knows, firsthand, there is always a great need for it among City of Hope patients.
 
When Hosozawa retired from teaching, the first thing she did was sign up to become a City of Hope volunteer. Once placed in the Blood Donor Center, she felt right at home, meeting people who could possibly have been contributors to Jenny's recovery. Hosozawa shares Jenny’s story frequently with City of Hope donors, giving hope to others who are donating for loved ones.
 
Now a 23-year leukemia survivor, Jenny is happy and healthy. She is employed as a speech and language pathologist and enjoys playing Japanese taiko drums and performing with the dynamic Kishin Daiko.
 

How do i Donate?

Call the City of Hope Blood Donor Center at 626-471-7171 or visit iDonateBlood4Hope.org to schedule an appointment to donate blood and or platelets. The Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center is home to the Blood Donor/Apheresis Center on the Duarte campus. Through City of Hope’s Directed Donor Program, family and friends have an opportunity to donate blood and platelets directly to a patient. 

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Feel free to download The Journey of Donating Blood and Platelets for health and education purposes.

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