Many couples spend Valentine’s Day celebrating love, but one Oahu couple has been marking the day by also giving the gift of life.
Eileen and Charlie Bright have been happily married for 33 years, a retired fireman and a retired postal worker who have committed their lives to helping others.
For the past five years, the two have spent their Valentine’s Day giving blood.
“We give blood donations, both of us, and then that’s our donation and our gift to everybody else,” Eileen said. “Then in the evening, we spend that together and that’s our time together.”
“I’ve been donating blood since 1978,” Charlie said. “I used to work for the fire department and back then the fire department used to encourage us to donate blood once a year.”
When donors could start donating blood every four weeks, the Brights were eager to accept the challenge and involved their family members too, giving blood as a family for Christmas.
“It goes by so fast, you don’t even notice the hour because we come together and we talk to each other,” Eileen said.
The Blood Bank of Hawaii says in order to meet the needs of Hawaii’s patients, they need approximately 200 people to donate blood everyday.
“One person could use upwards of 30 pints of blood,” said Maura Dolormente, Blood Bank of Hawaii. “Thirty people had to come in to save that person. Some people need transfusions every three weeks.”
The Brights give blood in December and time it out perfectly for their Valentine’s Day date.
“It’s the gift of life and it costs you nothing,” Charlie said. “You get to see their smiling faces every day of your life and you touch their lives and I am sure their lives are being touched by their families.”