World Blood Donor Day History
World Blood Donor Day raises awareness for the need for blood and blood products (plasma, red cells and platelets) around the world. Donated blood and blood products make surgeries possible, lessen the gravity of humanitarian and natural disasters, and can help just about anyone in need. Blood and its products are collected from donors who are willing to roll up their sleeves to donate approximately one-fifth of their blood. So, World Blood Donor Day is just as much a celebration of blood as it is of blood donors who give their life-saving gift to help unknown people in need.
The event began in 2004 and has been growing in popularity ever since. World Blood Donor Day is celebrated annually on June 14th, a date chose as it is the birthday of Nobel Prize winning scientist Karl Landsteiner who discovered the ABO blood group system.
World Blood Donor Day Facts & Quotes
- One theme for World Blood Donor Day 2017 was What can you do? Give blood. Give now. Give often
- The host country for the 2016 World Blood Donor Day is the Netherlands. Each year the event has a host country, symbolising the global effort. Previous host countries have included China (Shanghai), Sri Lanka and France.
- According to the American Red Cross, donors can donate whole blood every 56 days, platelets every 7 days (up to 24 times a year), plasma every 28 days (up to 38 times a year) and double red cells every 112 days.
- Type O negative blood and Type AB positive plasma can be transfused to all blood types. The demand is great but supply is low.
Today, only 62 countries get close to 100% of their national blood supplies from voluntary unpaid blood donations, with 40 countries still dependent on family donors and even paid donors. - World Health Organization
World Blood Donor Day Top Events and Things to Do
- Give the gift of life. If you are an eligible donor, you can donate blood at many centres throughout your city or country. Search online to find your nearest centre.
- It isn’t just donors that are important, the infrastructure of donation needs volunteers just like you! So if you can’t donate blood you can also donate time and effort to helping those in need.
- Revaluate your diet. In order to donate, you must have sufficient iron in your blood and once you have donated, iron will have been removed from your body. Add some food rich in iron to your diet. Food such as red meats, seafood, green leafy vegetables and beans are known to be rich in iron.
- Find out what blood type you are! There are 8 types, with AB being the rarest (only 4% of the world population has it) and either a positive or a negative factor (the negative being the recessive and more rare factor).
- Check out the documentary The Blood in This Town (2010) or Blood (Krov) (2013) to see some life-changing stories about blood donation in the US and Russia.