World Blood Donor Day 2011: More Blood. More Life.

June 14th is World Blood Donor Day, which is a particularly important day for us here at Incept.

It’s the day we celebrate and honor blood donors from around the world who give up a little of their time (and blood) to help someone in need. Most blood donors will never know who their blood eventually helps, but they donate anyway – sometimes several times a year –  for no other reason than because they want to do something altruistic to benefit someone else. World Blood Donor Day is for them.

World Blood Donor Day was started on June 14th, 2004, in Johannesburg, South Africa by the World Health Organization (also known as WHO), as a way to encourage voluntary blood donation throughout the world. This holiday really demonstrates the need for donors to regularly give blood to prevent shortages in hospitals and clinics within their community. The need for donors is especially dire in developing countries where the amount of blood donated is scarce. According to the WHO, out of the 80 countries with low blood donation rates (ie: countries where fewer than 10 people out of every thousand donate), 79 are developing nations. By celebrating World Blood Donor Day, we’re able to raise the awareness of just how important being a volunteer blood donor really is.

Some might ask why hospitals and blood centers don’t simply offer to pay individuals for their blood if the need is so great. Admittedly, this is an idea that makes sense, but it’s not without risks. By offering to pay for blood, it raises the likelihood that the blood you received wouldn’t be safe to give to someone else. Studies have shown that blood donated for profit is more likely to come from individuals who have medical conditions that could make it dangerous for another person to receive their blood, or that the “donors” themselves might donate too frequently, putting themselves in harm’s way. By only taking volunteers, blood centers are more likely to have donors who are healthy, making the blood in our hospitals that much safer.

This year, the theme for World Blood Donor Day is “More blood. More life.” This theme really drives home the need for more people to become regular donors. Even here in the U.S., we sometimes have blood shortages. Out of the 38% of people eligible to donate blood, fewer than 10% actually donate on a regular basis. When you consider that about 4.5 million Americans alone will a need blood transfusion every year, the need for blood donations becomes staggeringly obvious.

Donating blood is very important. By spending just one hour to donate a pint of blood, you could be helping up to three people who desperately need it.

From all of us here at Incept, we want to wish you a happy World Blood Donor Day this June 14th!