LAKE ZURICH, Ill. and BETHESDA, Md., September 10, 2009 – Medical professionals know that long holiday weekends like Labor Day in the United States often require extra work by blood collectors before and after the holiday to assure adequate supplies of safe, donated blood are on hospital shelves to meet the needs of patients.
Blood collection professionals will be recognized in communities worldwide September 13-19, 2009, as part of the 5th Annual Blood Collectors Week, sponsored jointly by Fenwal Inc. and AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks). During the week, blood centers across the country will host celebrations, often with local government officials, to recognize their staffs and donors. Individuals are encouraged to give back to their respective communities and honor these professionals by contacting their local blood collection facility to schedule an appointment to donate blood.
“Blood collectors play a vital role within the transfusion medicine community as they are charged with making every effort to provide a positive experience for the blood donor,” said Karen Shoos Lipton, chief executive officer of AABB. “In doing so, these professionals are helping to ensure that blood is readily available to patients whenever and wherever it is needed.”
According to AABB, approximately 30 million blood components are transfused annually in the United States. Blood transfusions are a critical component in the treatment of patients with serious medical conditions, from cancer to major surgery, as well as accident and trauma victims. One in 10 individuals admitted to the hospital require a transfusion. People typically receive transfusions of red blood cells, platelets or plasma, with red blood cells representing the most frequently needed blood component.
“Blood is medicine’s most vital natural resource,” said Ron Labrum, Fenwal president and chief executive officer. “Blood collectors help to make that connection between the donor and the patient, ensuring blood is available for critical medical therapies and treatments. Blood Collectors Week is a tribute to this important profession and Fenwal is honored to partner with AABB, blood centers and communities nationwide in recognizing these outstanding professionals.”
Blood collection organizations estimate that every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. Blood donors are the only source of blood for transfusion.
Blood collectors serve an important role helping individuals select the best donation option based on local blood supply needs, their blood type and donor qualifications. Type O negative is the universal blood type for red cells, and type AB is the universal blood type for platelets and plasma. To donate blood, one must be healthy, and meet age, weight and other donor requirements.
To contact a local blood center or to learn more about blood donation, visit www.aabb.org. For more information about Blood Collectors Week, visit www.bloodcollectors.org.
Established in 1947, AABB 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. For more information, please visit www.aabb.org.
Fenwal, Inc. is a global medical technology company focused on improving blood collection, separation, safety and availability. Fenwal became an independent company in 2007, but its roots go back to 1949 with the founding of Fenwal Laboratories. Fenwal developed the first flexible, disposable container for blood collection, eliminating complications associated with glass containers and allowing blood to be separated into therapeutic components. Today, the company’s products and advanced collection and separation technologies are used throughout the world to help ensure a safe and available supply of lifesaving blood and blood products. Fenwal Inc. is based in Lake Zurich, Illinois. For more information, please visit www.fenwalinc.com .