Celebrate World Red Cross Day

April 14, 2011


News Release      

Celebrate the birth of a movement by donating blood
World Red Cross Day is May 8

You can celebrate the birth of a movement and help others in need by coming to donate blood in early May.

     May 8, 2011,  marks World Red Cross Day, as well as the birthday of Henry Dunant, the founder of what is known today as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Dunant was a young Swiss businessman who advocated for the humane treatment of wartime sick and wounded. Dunant witnessed atrocities in 1859 during a bloody battle in Solferino, Italy, and organized local people to come to the aid of injured soldiers. Upon his return to Geneva, Dunant called for the creation of national volunteer relief societies to assist during wartime. His work pointed the way to the future Geneva Conventions, and the formation of Red Cross societies worldwide, including the American Red Cross.

     “We encourage everyone to help continue his legacy and help people in need, wherever they are,” said Diane E. Ward, CEO for the Southeastern Michigan Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross.  “Coming to donate blood to help hospital patients who need it for surgeries, cancer care, or to treat life-threatening accidents is one way you can help.”

     The American Red Cross is among more than 180 Red Cross and Red Crescent societies around the world devoted to alleviating human suffering wherever it is found. The Red Cross works with partner societies in about 200 countries which have collectively mobilized more than 97 million volunteers to assist some 233 million beneficiaries each year. Recent catastrophic events in Haiti and Japan demonstrate the ability of the Red Cross network to provide relief during times of devastating need.

     “Dunant showed us that even when world events seem overwhelming, you can make a difference, simply by giving blood, volunteering or making a contribution through your American Red Cross,” said Ward.