American Red Cross Invites Donors to Help Save Lives this World Blood Donor Day

June 11, 2010

A safe and adequate blood supply is a cornerstone of modern healthcare. World Blood Donor Day is June 14 – the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine winner who discovered the ABO blood group system. The day marks a special occasion for blood donors across the United States to continue to set a positive example for the rest of the world that a safe and adequate blood supply can be achieved through voluntary donations.

Developed countries, like the United States, generally benefit from an adequate blood supply. However, only 38 percent of blood donations worldwide are donated in developing countries where 82 percent of the population lives, according the, the official website of World Blood Donor Day. Moreover, many countries depend on paid donors or replacement programs (family members donating for a patient), minimizing the health and safety benefits of a purely voluntary, unpaid blood donation program, according to the World Health Organization.

In the U.S., where the American Red Cross is responsible for nearly half of the blood supply, blood donation for transfusion to patients is voluntary and unpaid, yet extremely rewarding. Approximately every two seconds a patient needs a blood transfusion in the U.S. – the need is constant and the gratification is instant.

At times, the American Red Cross may be asked to assist internationally as well. In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, at the request of the Pan American Health Organization, the Red Cross provided more than 1,300 units of blood products for victims needing transfusions.

The Red Cross invites donors of all blood types to learn more about blood and platelet donation, and schedule one or more donation appointments this summer when donations often decline.

How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (448-3543) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. A blood donor card or driver's license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross

Governed by volunteers and supported by giving individuals and communities, the American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood products to hospitals throughout the United States. While local hospital needs are always met first, the Red Cross also helps ensure no patient goes without blood no matter where or when they need it. In addition to providing nearly half of the nation's blood supply, the Red Cross provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.