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America's Blood Centers Thanks Donors During Celebration of National Blood Donor Month

ABC urges Americans to make a different kind of New Year's resolution

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Throughout the month of January, America's Blood Centers and blood transfusion recipients across the country recognize and thank blood donors through the annual celebration of National Blood Donor Month.

Each year, more than 4.5 million patients need blood transfusions in the U.S. According to a recent study by W. Riley (et al) published in the July 2007 issue of Transfusion, only 37 percent of the population is eligible to give blood. However, less than 10 percent of the eligible population gives annually. It is through the commitment of regular blood donors like Bob Grant, a frequent face at the Oklahoma Blood Institute, that allows blood centers across the nation to meet hospital needs. Grant has been giving blood since 1976 when he first donated to assist a co-worker's open heart surgery. Since then, he has donated over 300 times and has given over 50 gallons of blood.

"To me giving blood is a civic responsibility, it's nice to know that I am doing something good for my community," states Grant. "Giving blood is easy to do, it takes less than an hour, and it can save someone's life. They say I'm a 'hero,' I like to say it's the right thing to do."

Grant's donation, along with thousands of pints of blood given daily, is made available at healthcare facilities to not only treat patients who have experienced a severe trauma, but also those suffering from chronic diseases that require weekly or monthly blood transfusions, and in some cases, like Lauren Larsen's, even childbirth.

"About two hundred complete strangers kept me alive with their blood donations when near-fatal childbirth complications arose with my first -- and last -- pregnancy seven years ago. Today, when I look at my little girl and think about her going through life with both of her parents, you can't imagine the gratitude I feel for those anonymous angels," says Larsen, a Boulder, CO, marketing executive and blood donor advocate.

Holidays, busy travel schedules, inclement weather and illness all combine to make the winter months a time when blood is often in short supply. Because of this, America's Blood Centers would like to challenge Americans to make a New Year's resolution in 2008 that is easy to stick to: donate blood.

And there is no better time to start than during National Blood Donor Month which begins January 1. ABC is asking all eligible blood donors to schedule an appointment to donate blood this month and throughout 2008. As blood usage increases, it is becoming more critical that people become regular blood donors; one who gives two to three times a year.

"If it weren't for the generosity of millions of American blood donors, people with disorders such as Thalassemia and Sickle Cell would not live a productive life," states Donald Doddridge, President of America's Blood Centers. "Many more are alive today because there was blood on the shelf when they needed it after an accident or emergency surgical procedure. ABC would like to thank those who have continued to support the cause, and ask those who have not previously donated, to start a new habit in 2008: giving the gift of life by becoming a regular blood donor."

To be eligible to donate blood you must be 17 years of age (16 in some states), at least 110 pounds and in general good health. For more information about becoming a blood donor or to find a community blood center near you, please visit or call 1-888-USBLOOD.

About America's Blood Centers

Founded in 1962, America's Blood Centers is North America's largest network of community-based blood programs. Recognized by the U.S. Congress for its critical work in patient care and disaster preparedness and response, the federation of 77 blood centers together operates more than 600 collection sites in 45 U.S. states and Canada, providing half of the U.S., and all of the Canadian volunteer donor blood supply.

These blood centers serve an area with more than 180 million people and provide blood products and services to more than 4,200 hospitals and healthcare facilities across North America. ABC's U.S. members are licensed and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Canadian members are regulated by Health Canada.

SOURCE America's Blood Centers
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