Blood bank awaits HART response to September request for kokua

(Via Star Advertiser)

The Blood Bank of Hawaii is seeking financial help to relocate its primary donor center in Kalihi as a result of anticipated rail construction and is waiting for a response from rail developers.

Kim-Anh Nguyen, Blood Bank president and chief executive officer, said the request was sent to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation in September.

“We’re eagerly awaiting a response … and looking forward to a conversation,” she said.

On Wednesday the Blood Bank of Hawaii announced plans to move its primary donor center on the first floor of its Dillingham Boulevard building in Kalihi before rail construction begins there this summer.

It plans to renovate its satellite location on Young Street in McCully to accommodate the donor operations now done in Kalihi.

Nguyen said the renovation is estimated to cost at least $650,000 and does not include moving expenses.

She said rail developers also want an easement through the property and to use some parking spaces during construction.

Nguyen said her organization is required to comply with federal regulations in operating the Blood Bank, including certain standards of hygiene.

“With the daily construction comes noise, dust and vibrations,” she said. “We have extremely sensitive machines. Our operations have to be controlled and predictable.”

The Blood Bank, established in 1941, serves as the primary source of blood for Hawaii for surgeries and trauma patients and also for patients who require rare types of blood, including Jk3-negative — a blood type found in some Filipinos and Hawaiians.

Nguyen said Hawaii needs about 200 donors a day.

Nguyen said the rail project is taking about 10 feet of its property fronting Dillingham Boulevard and will come within inches of its building.

She said her group plans to expand the number of blood mobiles to four from three to accommodate those who may find the move inconvenient for them to make a donation.

Blood Bank officials plan to continue setting up their visiting blood drives in buildings on Oahu and the neighbor islands.

Meanwhile, Nguyen said, the Blood Bank will continue its second-floor operations in Kalihi, which involve processing the blood and storing it in a repository.

She said Blood Bank officials are still looking at what should be done to the second-floor operation in the long term.

“We’re exploring all options,” she said.

HART spokeswoman Jeanne Mariani-Belding, contacted late Wednesday, said, “We will continue to work closely and collaboratively with the blood bank and with other businesses along the route as construction progresses.”

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