Bethesda, Md. – To increase national and global appreciation of volunteer blood donors, AABB and the Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals (ADRP) are partnering together to encourage their respective members to celebrate World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) on June 14. This specific day marks the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the Nobel Prize winner who discovered the ABO blood group system.
“World Blood Donor Day raises awareness of the need for safe blood around the world,” said AABB Chief Executive Officer Karen Shoos Lipton. “We hope to encourage eligible individuals to donate blood regularly so that blood is readily available in our communities when it is needed.”
To help promote this event, AABB and ADRP have developed a WBDD resource kit that includes downloadable materials available on their respective Web sites, including a fact sheet, poster and proclamation template. In addition, the two organizations are proud to announce the establishment of the AABB/ADRP World Blood Donor Day Award, which will recognize one organization for its outstanding efforts to promote this celebratory event. The facility selected for this award will receive one complimentary registration to the 2008 AABB Annual Meeting & TXPO in Montréal and one complimentary registration to the 2009 ADRP Conference in St. Pete Beach, Fla. The winning organization also will receive a $1,500 stipend to apply toward travel to these meetings for an employee or employees who played an instrumental role in implementing that organization’s World Blood Donor Day activities. More details about the AABB/ADRP World Blood Donor Day Award submission process is posted on the AABB Web site at www.aabb.org and on the ARDP Web site at www.adrp.org. Submissions are due by July 11.
The 2008 WBDD theme, “Giving Blood Regularly,” is one AABB and ADRP members can, and should, easily embrace, says Sue Churchill, former ADRP president and current member of the AABB Donor Recruitment/Public Relations Committee. “What center hasn’t at some point struggled with how to build and retain a base of returning donors willing to make a life-long commitment?” asked Churchill.
Churchill challenges AABB and ADRP members to be creative in their WBDD celebration. She suggests the use of clever slogans that encourage repeat donors, while adhering to WBDD’s intent to thank donors for their gift of blood. World Blood Donor Day provides an opportunity for centers to evaluate the effectiveness of their donor care programs and involve blood donors themselves in identifying ways to increase donor satisfaction and promote donor loyalty.
AABB and ADRP, whose members include individuals and institutions located throughout the world, also support World Blood Donor Day as a way to draw attention to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the world’s population does not have access to safe blood. According to the World Health Organization, more than 80 million units of blood are donated every year, but only 38 percent are collected in developing countries where 82 percent of the global population lives. Some 60 percent of the world’s blood supply goes to 18 percent of the population. There is a serious disparity among countries when it comes to both the availability and safety of blood.
As additional donor restrictions are implemented and the population ages, the U.S. and other countries could lose more and more willing donors, which could cause an even greater threat to our global blood supply. Recent research shows that only 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood. Of those eligible, only a small fraction actually donate each year. Maintaining a strong, continuous voluntary blood donor pool is critical to ensuring that there is a robust blood supply to meet patients’ needs 365 days a year, whether their needs are for scheduled treatments or for emergencies.
AABB and ADRP encourage donors and potential donors to make giving blood a regular part of their lives. One unit of blood can save up to three lives. To donate blood, one must be healthy, and meet age, weight and other donor requirements. Those interested in donating blood may visit www.aabb.org > Donate Blood to find a local blood collection site and to schedule an appointment.
Established in 1947, AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks) is an international, not-for-profit association dedicated to the advancement of science and the practice of transfusion medicine and related biological therapies. The association is committed to improving health by developing and delivering standards, accreditation and educational programs and services to optimize patient and donor care and safety. AABB membership consists of approximately 1,800 institutions and 8,000 individuals, including physicians, scientists, administrators, medical technologists, nurses, researchers, blood donor recruiters and public relations personnel. Members are located in all 50 states and 80 countries.
ADRP is an international organization and has been dedicated to the donor recruitment profession for more than 27 years. Led by its Executive Committee and Board of Directors along with a membership of nearly 600 recruitment professionals, ADRP provides education, development and resources for the donor recruitment profession.