Each June the world celebrates the life-saving gift of blood donation. World Blood Donor Day falls on June 14th, the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the creator of the ABO blood group system. The observance was established to recognize blood donors and to raise awareness for the continuing need for blood, platelet, and plasma donations.
The theme for this year’s acknowledgment: “Blood donation is an act of solidarity,” highlights the notion that a voluntary donation system encourages people to care about each other. The slogan selected, “Be there for someone else… Give Blood… Share life,” emphasizes the human value of compassion. This June 14th, thank the generous people who take time out of their day to sustain voluntary blood donation.
The general guidelines for blood donation require that you be at least 17 years of age, in good health, and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds. The requirements for students and young people age 18 and under vary slightly. According to the Red Cross, healthy adults can give whole blood every 56 days, platelets every 7 days (up to 24 times a year), plasma every 28 days (up to 38 times a year) and double red cells every 112 days.
Before donating it’s a good idea to prepare by eating iron rich foods like seafood, red meats, beans, and green leafy vegetables. Prospective donors are evaluated through a brief private interview to go over medical history and recent travel destinations. After the interview the person’s vital signs are checked and a small drop of blood is extracted from a fingertip to test the hemoglobin level. Once the evaluation is complete the donor is ready to give blood. The entire process takes about an hour and fifteen minutes depending on the amount of people donating.
What you can Do ….
- We all know someone whose life has been saved by the donation of blood. Share their stories on your social media posts to inspire healthy adults to give blood and to become regular blood donors.
- Apply with your local Red Cross to host a blood drive at your company.
- Organize a neighborhood field trip to your local Red Cross to donate. Provide your employees time off to donate, and offer recognition gifts for those who participate.
- Give Blood!