By overcoming adversity, parents instill legacy of donor diversity

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is observed each May, recognizing the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture and achievements of the United States.

The legacy and influence of our diverse population, however, resonates throughout the year and across lifetimes.

Dallas resident and Carter BloodCare donor Rodney Tanamachi shared the way his parents’ influence became his inheritance of the gift of helping others:

Mitsuye and Tom Tanamachi

“My story starts with my parents — Mitsuye (Mitzi) and Tom Tanamachi – who were interned during WWII. They were married at Poston Relocation Center in Arizona prior to the end of WWII.  

After the war, they settled on a farm in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. They raised vegetables, cotton and grain, along with three sons.

Dad sent us to college and beyond. Mom was a devoted Christian and a pillar of the family. They gave back to the community when able.   

‘Always do the right thing’ – that’s how they had coped with internment.  

Looking back, I’ve been very blessed. Using one of mom’s lesson’s, I’ve embraced a burning desire to pay it forward.

Blood donations struck a chord in me. I began giving blood in 2017. I found it a good way to give back and get involved with the community.

After a Carter BloodCare specialist explained what platelets are typically used for, I became interested in donating platelets. I never dreamed I would be doing this for five years, but here I am.

When I give platelets, I remind myself that someone will get through their chemo treatment because I gave. I am helping someone fight cancer so they can have another day with their loved ones.

At the end of the day, giving blood is not about me. It’s about the recipient.

My recipients remain faceless, but I sense their need. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here and capable to say, ‘Yes, I can help you right now.’ My parents’ story was about a lifetime of overcoming adversity and providing a stable, loving and structured lifestyle. The family values they taught resonate throughout my life today.”      

The need is nonstop for platelets, blood and plasma. Like Rodney, you can make a positive difference for neighbors in need by donating at a Carter BloodCare donor center or mobile blood drive near you, or call 800-366-2834 today.

Your experience as a Carter BloodCare donor or recipient can save lives by motivating others to donate. Please share your experience and Tell Us Your Story.