Lake Zurich, Ill. and BETHESDA, Md. – During the week of September 14-20, 2008, blood collection centers across the United States will celebrate the 4th Annual Blood Collectors Week sponsored by AABB and Fenwal, Inc. This celebratory week recognizes the important service blood collectors provide to communities nationwide in ensuring blood is available to meet critical patient needs.
“Blood collection professionals are integral to the donation process,” said Karen Shoos Lipton, chief executive officer of AABB. “The professionalism exuded by these dedicated individuals helps to ensure repeat donations, which is central to maintaining an adequate blood supply that is readily available whenever and wherever our communities need it.”
According to AABB, about 29 million units of blood components are transfused annually in the United States. Blood transfusions are a critical component in the treatment of people with serious medical conditions, including people undergoing cancer treatments, major surgeries, and accident and trauma victims. People typically receive transfusions of red blood cells, platelets and/or plasma and volunteer blood donors are the primary source of blood used for transfusions.
During this weeklong celebration, people are encouraged give back to their community and demonstrate their support for this honorable profession by making a blood donation.
“Blood collection professionals provide a critical service to the communities and patients they support, helping to improve and save lives on a daily basis” said Ron Labrum, Fenwal president and chief executive officer. “Blood Collectors Week is a tribute to this important profession and Fenwal is honored to join AABB and blood centers nationwide in recognizing these individuals.”
Blood collection professionals are responsible for educating people on their blood donation options, and facilitating a safe, comfortable donation experience. People may choose to give blood via a manual or automated method. During a manual donation, a pint of blood is collected and then separated into its therapeutic transfusion components, typically red cells, platelets and/or plasma. When donating via an automated system, donors give the therapeutic blood components most needed based on their blood type and donor qualifications, allowing them to give more of that component(s).
Blood collectors serve an important role in helping individuals identify the best donation method and ensuring the right components of the right blood type are on hospital shelves when needed. Type O negative is the universal blood type for red cells, and type AB is the universal blood type for platelet and plasma donors.
To schedule a blood donation, or to learn more about Blood Collectors Week, individuals are encouraged to contact their local blood center by visiting www.aabb.org. To donate blood, one must be healthy, and meet age, weight and other donor requirements.
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.
Fenwal is a leading, global healthcare company focused on the development, manufacture and marketing of products and services for the transfusion medicine industry. The company provides a comprehensive portfolio of products and services for manual and automated blood collection, processing and storage. For more information, please visit www.fenwalinc.com.