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Blood Drive To Honor Memory of Gavin Kim

May 09, 2022 05:45PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The Kim family of Manhattan Beach is hosting their second annual blood drive to benefit the Children's Hospital of L.A. in honor of their son and brother Gavin Kim, who passed away in 2020.

The blood drive will be held on Wednesday, May 11, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in front of  Manhattan Beach Fire Station #1 in Downtown Manhattan Beach. Donors can register at CHLA Donate Blood or call 323-361-2441 to register, although walk-ins are welcome.

The event, to be held two days after what would have been Gavin's 19th birthday, is being led by Gavin's sisters, Natalie, 17, and Coco, 15. It is a follow-up to a successful blood drive last year that actually had to turn away donors.

"He was a kind person who touched everyone he met," said Natalie. "As someone who was always willing to give even when he was in the hospital, he always wanted to give to others. Donating blood honors his memory because it is a selfless donation that he would have given if he could have."

"It’s really important for people to donate blood because it saves lives and there is so much need for it in hospitals where some people are fighting for their lives," agreed Coco. "I think people underestimate how important it is that there is enough blood, and even if it seems like a hassle or you’re scared of needles, you can change people's lives by donating."

Walk-ins are encouraged because many potential donors may be turned away for various reasons.

However, potential donors should take note: There is currently an oversupply of Type A blood, so anyone with Type A blood will not be accepted at this drive. However, those potential donors are encouraged to consider donating again at another time.

A Beloved Brother, Son, and Friend

Gavin Kim was an active, friendly, and much-loved member of the Kim family (which includes sisters Natalie and Coco and parents Kirk and Michelle Kim) and the Manhattan Beach community. A student at Mira Costa High School, he loved ice hockey, biking, skiing, traveling, adventuring, and hanging out with his friends.

He was born with a heart defect and endured multiple surgeries throughout his life. He went into the hospital in November 2019 for open heart surgery. However, he developed complications that led to two more open heart surgeries, and tragically, he passed away in March 2020.

The timing of his passing, just before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, made it difficult for family and friends to come together to honor him.

However, in 2021 the family was able to dedicate a bench to Gavin on the Greenbelt at 2nd and Ardmore.

"I just would like people to remember that he was always very happy, and he always had a good attitude about everything," said Coco. "He never complained about about being sick, or about not being able to do the same kinds of things that we could do."

His spirit is also kept alive through memories that his family and friends have shared online.

Among his many friends were the Chaikovsky twins, AJ and JJ, who considered themselves "triplets" with Gavin.

"I've always called you my triplet because we'd stick together no matter what. Your strength and spirit were so admirable and everyone knows you had one of the best laughs ever," wrote AJ in a tribute to Gavin. "The positivity and joy you brought to the world truly made it a better place."

Blood Needed For Children in Hospital

While at the hospital, Gavin needed a great deal of blood and blood components, including plasma and platelets.

In fact, according to Children's Hospital L.A., its patients need approximately 2,000 units of blood and blood components each month as part of the life-saving care provided at the hospital. Platelets, the blood component necessary for clotting, are especially needed for children undergoing bone marrow transplant therapy or chemotherapy, and are the most frequently used blood component at the hospital.

To provide all of the necessary units of blood, the hospital needs to collect blood from approximately 800 donors per month. CHLA joins with community partners to sponsor ongoing blood drives, and it also accepts appointments at its Blood Donor Center at 4560 Sunset Blvd, Suite 131, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (first floor of the Anderson Building). 

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