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World Blood Donor Day

'How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a weary world'

~William Shakespeare

14th of June is celebrated universally as the 'World Blood Donor Day'. It falls on the birthday of Karl LandSteiner, the Nobel Prize winner, who discovered the ABO blood group system.

World Blood Donor Day was initiated, prompted by the success of World Health Day, 2000, which was devoted to the theme 'Blood Saves Lives. Safe Blood Starts With Me'. It also draws inspiration from the International Blood Donor Day, organized annually, since 1995, by the International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations.

14th June has been selected as World Blood Donor Day by three major organizations working for voluntary non-remunerated blood donation -

1. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies,

2. The International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations and

3. The International Society of Blood Transfusion.

The Day has been endorsed by the World Health Organization, which co-sponsors the event. Together these organizations represent 192 Member States, 181 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 50 national voluntary blood donor organizations and blood transfusion specialists throughout the world.

World Blood Donor Day provides a special opportunity to thank all the voluntary (non-remunerated) blood donors. Several millions owe their existence to people they may never meet - people who donate their blood without any reward or remuneration. Despite these noble acts by many, 'safe' blood is denied to the overwhelming majority of the world's population.

Of the 80 million units of blood that are donated each year, only 38% is harvested from developing countries, where a staggering 82% of the world's population live. Several third world countries are still dependent on paid donors, although the majority of donated blood does come from family members or friends of patients.

Evidence from around the world bear witness to the fact that voluntary, unpaid blood donation is the corner- stone to safe blood supply, because of the reduced possibility of transmitting potentially life-threatening organisms, such as the HIV and hepatitis viruses. World Blood Donor Day endeavors to honor the stalwarts who donate safe blood, the precious gift of life.

World Blood Donor Day draws attention to the importance of voluntary blood donation, thereby inspiring more to donate blood. The day is dedicated to celebrate and thank each and every volunteer who donates blood without gratification, save the knowledge that their action has saved lives. The purpose of the day is not to ensure that there is a steady flow of donors, but rather to emphasize the fact that voluntary non-remunerated blood donors are the foundation of a safe blood supply and to inspire the youth to provide safe blood and save lives.

'We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men'. - Herman Melville

As humans our roles could be small and limited, but there are times when small is big. A simple act of blood donation could save the life of another fellow being. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something!
Make a difference - Donate safe blood.


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