World Blood Donor Day
World Blood Donor Day is an international holiday that has been celebrated annually on June 14th since 2004. It was created by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of eight global health initiatives started by this agency. The other seven global health initiatives are World AIDS Day, World Health Day, World Malaria Day, World Hepatitis Day, World Immunization Week, World Tuberculosis Day, and World No Tobacco Day.
Events such as blood drives and lectures are held all over the world on this day and each year has a different theme. For instance, in 2012, the theme was “Every Blood Donor is a Hero” and in 2016, the theme was “Blood Connects Us All.”
History of World Blood Donor Day
This holiday is celebrated on June 14th because that is when Karl Landsteiner was born in 1868 in Vienna, Austria. Who’s Karl Landsteiner, you ask? He’s a doctor who eventually became Professor of Pathological Anatomy at the University of Vienna and won The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1930 because he discovered human blood types and how to successfully transfuse blood from one patient to the next.
In 2004, the WHO decided to create World Blood Donor Day as a way to not only acknowledge the contributions of Karl Landsteiner but also to raise awareness about the global need for blood and to thank blood donors who take time out of their busy days to give blood.
Facts About Blood Donations & Transfusions
Blood donations from volunteers account for approximately 112 million blood donations collected around the globe on an annual basis. However, about 50% of these donations – or about 55 million units – are collected in high-income countries such as the United States. These high-income countries are home to only about 19% of the world’s population.
In low-income countries, over two-thirds of the blood donations given are for the blood transfusions of children aged 5 or under. In high-income countries, about three-fourths of blood donations are used for transfusions of adults aged 65 or older.
Observing World Blood Donor Day
All over the world, there are a wide range of different events to observe this holiday. Not only are their blood drives at blood collection facilities and mobile blood collection clinics but there are also usually concerts, parades, and other events to raise awareness of this day. Some businesses have begun to give their workers time off so they can give blood as well on this day.
The day is also usually celebrated on social media sites using either the hashtag #worldblooddonorday or simply, #giveblood. Although there are usually a number of observances and celebrations on this day, it’s not a public holiday but rather a global observance – which means that most post offices, government buildings, and businesses will be open on this day.
World Blood Donor Day is an observational holiday that most people should take the time to participate in, either by giving blood or raising awareness about the need for blood donations. Only about 33 out of 1000 people in high-income countries donate blood on a regular basis and only about 4 people out of 1000 in low-income countries donate blood, so blood supplies are always needing to be replenished.
However, if you cannot donate blood or engage in raising awareness about the need for blood, then you can always donate money to the Red Cross or other blood collection agencies.