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Statement from Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson regarding World Blood Donor Day

June 12, 2009 

Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., will make another stop on his nationwide tour to celebrate National

In recognition of ‘World Blood Donor Day’ on June 14, I urge every American who is eligible to donate blood regularly.  World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) recognizes the importance of blood donation and is a global celebration to acknowledge those who voluntarily give blood.  I want to thank all donors and encourage more of you help save lives of those in need through regular blood donation.

According to the Nation’s blood collectors, every two seconds someone in the United States is in need of blood, and one in seven people admitted to the hospital will require blood. Approximately 95 percent of the American population will need blood during their lifetime or know someone who will, yet only about five percent give blood. Interestingly, individuals age 65 years and older account for the least likely group to donate (seven percent), but require 50 percent of all whole blood (blood donation) and red blood cells transfused.

The nation’s blood supply is always in need of more blood.  Donors may donate up to one pint of blood every two months.  Since high school and college students are a substantial part of the blood donor pool, shortages of all types of blood often occur during the summer and winter holidays. It is estimated that the United States uses approximately 39,000 units of blood every day.  According to AABB – formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks – this year alone, more than five million patients will require blood transfusions from accidents, surgery, and treatments for leukemia, cancer and other diseases.  To put this figure into perspective, a victim in an auto accident may require up to 20 units of blood to save his or her life. 

An estimated eight million people donate blood in the United States each year, but many more donors are needed.  Eligibility requirements to donate do vary by state, but generally you must be 16 years of age, a minimum of 110 pounds, and in basic good health.  Please check with your local community blood bank to determine the exact requirements.

I encourage eligible individuals to donate their blood regularly, especially those high school and college students who may have stopped donating during the summer season.  If all eligible blood donors gave at least twice a year, it would greatly help maintain an adequate blood supply for our country.  Donating one pint of your blood can save three lives. 

All Americans, corporations, communities, schools, government entities, and uniformed services should be involved through hosting regular blood drives and actively participating in other planned activities.  If you are not eligible to donate, you can still support the cause and recruit others to donate by communicating this message.  In addition, you can also volunteer at your local blood banks and organize mobile blood drives. 

Contact your local blood collection facility today and schedule an appointment.  Remember that your donation will save many lives. 

To learn more about donating blood and ways to get involved, please visit: Exit Disclaimer Exit Disclaimer  Exit Disclaimer Exit Disclaimer


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