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Saturn Celebrates 11 Years of Helping Save Lives Through Blood, Marrow, Organ and Tissue Donation
Date:2/9/2008

Saturn National Donor Day - What better Valentine's Day gift than the "gift of life?"

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Since 1998, Saturn retailers nationwide have held more than 1,900 community donor drives, most on or near Valentine's Day, in conjunction with local blood center partners as part of Saturn National Donor Day. One of America's largest annual community-wide one-day donor drives, the launch will be hosted by Cavender's Saturn of San Antonio and the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center. The campaign celebrates its 11th anniversary with nearly 2,000 planned community donor drives aimed at raising awareness and encouraging blood, marrow, organ and tissue donation throughout the month of February.

"We are proud that Saturn National Donor Day is our premier annual community service project and that we continue to build on the idea that random acts of kindness truly promote steps toward making the world a better place," notes Jill Lajdziak, Saturn General Manager. "In 2008, a Saturn retailer somewhere in America, in collaboration with its local blood bank partner, will likely collect our 250,000th unit of blood since we started in 1998, and we are optimistic that we will surpass our 12,000th potential marrow donor to the National Marrow Donor Program Registry."

There are three key components to Saturn National Donor Day - each serves as a community call to action to help save lives.

-- Blood donation - Each day, approximately 39,000 units of blood are needed to save the lives of thousands of Americans. Every pint of donated blood is separated into its components and distributed to hospitals to help save the lives of up to three patients. One pint, three lives. Supplies are often critically low during the winter months when most Saturn community donor drives are held. To help donors locate Saturn drives, http://www.saturn.com will begin listing the locations and dates of Saturn retailer blood collections in early February. Saturn retailers and their local blood center partners have collected over 226,000 units of blood since 1998.

-- Marrow donation - Saturn drives have helped add nearly 12,000 potential marrow donors to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry, and to date, 24 potentially lifesaving marrow matches have occurred as a direct result of Saturn National Donor Day. Each year approximately 38,000 patients fighting leukemia and other diseases will turn to the NMDP Registry seeking a match from an anonymous donor.

-- Organ, eye and tissue donation - Nearly 98,000 Americans are currently awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant. Sadly, an average of 18 patients die every day due to a shortage of donors. Saturn urges every American to commit to being a donor. Since the procedures for designating your donation decision vary from state to state, all Americans should visit the Donate Life America Web site, http://www.donatelife.net, to learn how to become an organ donor in their state. Most states maintain an online registry that will allow people to declare their desire to be a donor

Chris Klug, liver transplant recipient and world-class Alpine snowboarder, is Saturn National Donor Day's national spokesperson. Chris received his lifesaving transplant in 2000, and in 2002, won a Bronze Medal for the USA at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. His remarkable story is testimony to the fact that donation not only saves lives, but can enable a great quality of life for those fortunate enough to receive a second chance thanks to lifesaving donation.

Saturn Corporation and its national partners as well as hundreds of local blood centers and community health organizations help to make Saturn National Donor Day possible. Saturn National Donor Day partners include: AABB, American Liver Foundation, American Society of Transplant Surgeons, America's Blood Centers/Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals, Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, Children's Organ Transplant Association, Donate Life America, LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, The Marrow Foundation, National Kidney Foundation, National Marrow Donor Program, National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program, United Network for Organ Sharing, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and United Auto Workers.

"My life was saved thanks to the incredible generosity of a donor family," says Saturn National Donor Day Spokesperson Chris Klug. "What better way to celebrate the spirit of the Valentine's Day season than to give the gift of life? Come and join us."

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.


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SOURCE America's Blood Centers
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