Pearl City Woman’s Rare Blood Saves Lives


Leslie Tanoue has been giving blood since the early 1990s. On Saturday she reclined at the Blood Bank of Hawaii, clutching a red squeeze toy shaped like a blood drop. She says it was probably the 70th time she has donated.

Her O-type blood has antigens that match those of people suffering from a condition known as Thalassemia, a blood disorder that requires patients to have frequent transfusions to keep them alive.

“Every time she donates she probably helps save up to three lives. Her red cells go to someone who has Thalassemia and the other products can go to somebody else,” said Dr. Randal Covin, Blood Bank of Hawaii associate director.

Leslie said it’s a good feeling to come in and provide something that can save someone’s life. And she was thankful she could do it.

“It’s nice that you can help somebody. You don’t know who it is, but you’re helping somebody. You hope that it never has to be your own family or you yourself. I’m lucky,” Tanoue said.

The Blood Bank of Hawaii was urging people to come donate over the Fourth of July holiday.

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