World Blood Donor Day Is June 14


Strengthening the base of volunteer blood donors who help ensure a stable blood supply across the globe will be the focus of World Blood Donor Day on June 14. "The need for blood is universal, just like air or water," said Sharyn Whitman, CEO for the Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross. "World Blood Donor Day provides the chance for all of us to recognize that blood is essential to healthcare across the globe." With the 2011 theme "more blood, more life," organizers of World Blood Donor Day are working to boost the number of people on every continent who give blood on a regular basis. Worldwide, about 90 million blood donations are made each year. But according to the World Health Organization, more than 70 countries have blood donation rates that are considered less than necessary to meet basic blood needs. In the United States, about 38 percent of the population is eligible to give blood, but only a fraction actually donates. "Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood," said Whitman. "Patients with emergency and ongoing medical needs depend on blood from volunteer donors to help save their lives." World Blood Donor Day began in June 1995, and calls on countries to achieve a blood supply that's built entirely by voluntary, unpaid donors by the year 2020. Today, organizers cite 62 countries with blood transfusion services based entirely on voluntary blood donations-up from 39 in 2002.The Red Cross only accepts blood from volunteer blood donors, and collects about 6.3 million pints of blood a year. "Volunteer blood donors who give on a regular basis are the foundation of a safe and adequate blood supply," said Whitman. "In a world that's getting more complex every day, it's nice to know the simple act of giving blood can make a huge difference."