one by one® story: Hawai’i Cord Blood Bank
About two-thirds of people needing bone marrow transplants do not have a matching donor in their family. For these people, the search leads to volunteer bone marrow donor registries and public cord blood banks. This scenario poses a specific challenge in Hawai’i: Most bone marrow donors are Caucasian, whereas nearly a quarter of the Hawai’i population is multi-racial. And the best chance for a match is from the patient’s own ethnic group. Enter the Hawai’i Cord Blood Bank. The organization encourages locals to donate their babies’ cord blood to the cause, giving countless patients a fighting chance. In return, the cord blood bank shows appreciation with branded reusable grocery bags it received thanks to a 4imprint® one by one® grant.
Saving lives, one unit at a time
Recognizing that Hawai’i’s ethnically diverse patients need a better chance for a matching donor, the Hawai’i Cord Blood Bank collects locally donated umbilical cord blood—85% of which comes from minority or mixed ethnicity babies.
Offering parents of newborn babies the chance to “give the gift of life a second time,” the Hawai’i Cord Blood Bank collects the blood left over in babies’ umbilical cords. This blood has the same kind of special cells as bone marrow and doesn’t have to be as closely matched as bone marrow cells from adult donors.
One patient who benefited from the Hawai’i Cord Blood Bank received cord blood units from two sisters born six years apart. Out of more than 700,000 banked cord blood units available for transplants worldwide, two baby sisters—whose ethnicity includes Hawai’ian, Asian and Caucasian—were able to provide life-giving stem cells to a person who otherwise may not have had the chance.
Giving a tangible thank-you gift to parents
Thanks to parents who recognize the critical need for multiethnic cord blood donations, the Hawai’i Cord Blood Bank now has more than 3,000 banked units available for transplant. To show their heartfelt appreciation, Hawai’i Cord Blood Bank staff members give reusable grocery bags to some families who donate.
“We were going to give the reusable grocery bags out to parents who signed up to donate at a Baby Expo we were to attend last year. But because of COVID-19, the Baby Expo was cancelled. We’re so grateful when parents contribute to our cord blood bank and want to give them something handy to show our thanks,” said Linda Watanabe, Hawai’i Cord Blood Bank Administrator.
A note from Cheryl
Every time a parent uses the branded reusable grocery bags from the Hawai’i Cord Blood Bank, they’re reminded of the lives their baby may be saving. 4imprint is honored to be a small part of such a life-giving initiative. If you’re interested in applying for a one by one® grant, visit onebyone.4imprint.com.