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Department of Internal Medicine: Memorial blood drive for resident Ryder Onopa proves successful

October 11, 2017 —

Pictured: Ryder, left, with a shaka and a smile, with MD 2014 classmates on their Match Day.

By Tina Shelton, JABSOM Communications Director

Medical students at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) rallied to help fulfill one of Dr. Ryder Onopa’s last wishes. On his Facebook page, three weeks before his death from cancer, Ryder challenged his friends this memorable way:

“If anything, do me a favor…Watch a sunset. Photograph something beautiful. Post something unexpected. Hug your lover. Hug a stranger. Offer to help someone. Donate blood. Let’s just all be grateful, hey?”

— Ryder, on Facebook, July 30, 2017.

On October 6, 2017, his friends came through. The Blood Bank of Hawaiʻi Bloodmobile pulled up to the curb outside the University of Hawai’i medical school, and a steady stream of faculty, staff and MD students donated blood. They exceeded the goal of the Dr. Ryder Onopa Blood Drive, with fifty people giving 44 pints of blood. The usual workplace blood drive produces 25 pints. “The Dr. Ryder Onopa Blood Drive will live on at JABSOM, and up to 132 patients will be touched by the products collected in his honor,” said Amy Bender, Blood Bank of Hawaiʻi Donor Recruitment Account Manager.

Ryder Onopa, MD graduated from JABSOM in 2014, and was in his final year of MD Residency Training in the University of Hawaiʻi Internal Medicine Residency Program when he died in August.

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