Today, the Department of Health and Human Services is pleased to recognize World Blood Donor Day and the unique life-saving role that blood donors play in communities in the United States and around the world.
This year's slogan, "Give the gift of life: donate blood," reminds us that many in this world do not have timely access to safe blood. Today, 62 countries, including the United States, collect 100 percent of their blood products from voluntary, unpaid donors. The World Health Organization hopes that all countries will achieve this goal by 2020.
Recent reminders of our nation's commitment to this issue are easy to find. We need only to look at our citizens' generous response to calls to donate blood in the wake of the Boston bombing and the Oklahoma tornado, as well as those who donate blood during regular blood collection drives.
In the United States every year, about 8 million individuals roll up their sleeves and donate blood. While we are grateful for these donors' gift of life, many more of us could help save lives by donating blood.
Blood donations benefit all types of patients from cancer patients or surgical patients, to those with battlefield injuries. Each unit is critical and no donation is too small. Consider that:
- Forty or more units of blood may be needed for a single trauma victim.
- Eight units of platelets may be required daily by leukemia patients undergoing treatment.
- A single pint of blood can sustain a premature infant's life for two weeks.
To learn more about blood donation and find your local community blood bank, please visit www.americasblood.org or www.redcrossblood.org, or call 1-888-USBLOOD. For military donation sites, visit www.militaryblood.dod.mil.
World Blood Donor Day is an opportunity for all Americans and the entire world to focus on the need for a safe blood supply and to thank the voluntary, unpaid donors for their life-saving gift.