WATERLOO (KWWL)-- Four years ago, a Kansas couple embarked upon a journey across the U.S. to donate blood in every state. Their quest and more than 78-thousand miles brought them to Hawaii, the final stop in their mission. Cindy Cha has the story of their unique journey.
James and Linda parker have spent a good part of their lives traveling and donating the gift of life. For the past four years, the Parkers have been on a mission to raise awareness of the shortage of blood donors.
"People need to realize that if they wait for a need for the blood, it's too late to donate for the need," says Linda Parker.
They began their journey in their home state of Kansas and end in the Aloha State. The Parkers are donating blood platelets at Tripler Army Medical Center.
"We like to have our donations go to military hospitals where there's a need since we've donated at 49 other states for civilians, it would be nice if our donations be used for military as well," says James.
Throughout their mission, they have traveled close to 120,000 miles and spent more than $33,000. But they say money is secondary, as long as they get their story across.
"The story is the fact that nationwide, there is a shortage for blood products and a desperate need for new donors to come into the system especially young people, that's the story."
And even the busy holiday season isn't keeping them from completing their mission.
"Holiday times are when people tend to get busy and what they're doing with the holidays and it's leave time for service members so that's the time when the need goes up."
A need the Parkers hope to fulfill.
The Parkers, who are from Kansas say Hawaii may be their last stop, but it won't be their last donation.