On June 14, the American Red Cross and blood donation centers around the world will celebrate World Blood Donor Day (WBDD). The need for blood remains constant, but during the summer months, donations tend to decline
What is World Blood Donor Day?
WBDD is an effort by organizations around the world to celebrate those who donate blood and raise awareness for the need for blood and blood products. Celebration of the day began in 2004 on the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who discovered the ABO blood group system.
Why is WBDD so important?
Abundant blood supplies are rarer than they should be, especially in developing countries. Fifty-seven countries collect 100 percent of their blood supplies from unpaid, volunteer donors, according to the World Health Organization, so it’s extremely important that people who are eligible to donate do so. WBDD is observed during the summer when donation numbers usually decline. Nationwide, nearly one-third fewer new donors came out to give last summer than during the rest of the year. Additionally, many schools where blood drives are held – and where new donors give – are not in session, and current donors often delay giving due to summer vacation plans.
What do blood transfusions do?
Blood transfusion has been around longer than you might think; the first blood donation occurred in the the 17th century. Medical professionals continue to find ways to use blood and blood products to help patients in need. Today, blood can be transfused to replenish blood cells in accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients as well as those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.
How you can get involved
The Red Cross has once again partnered with Nexcare Bandages and supermodel Niki Taylor for the ninth annual Nexcare Give program in honor of World Blood Donor Day on June 14. Raising awareness of the need for blood has become a passion for Niki. In 2001, she was in a near-fatal car accident and needed about 100 pints of blood to survive. Niki’s SleevesUp campaign helps raise awareness about the need for blood and platelet donations this summer by encouraging donors to “Roll Up a Sleeve and Give Where You Live.” Nexcare bandages used during the campaign showcase this theme with graphics featuring sights from around the world. On June 14, blood and platelet donors who come to give will receive one of these limited-edition bandages as a “thank you” from Niki, Nexcare and the Red Cross. You can join the cause by rolling up a sleeve today! Simply download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information.