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Be a Hero on World Blood Donor Day

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Be a Hero on World Blood Donor Day

Every blood donor is a hero. That’s this year’s theme of World Blood Donor day, held June 14, around the world. It’s easy to become a blood donor.

June 14 is World Blood Donor Day. Sponsored by the World Health Organization, today is a day to honour blood donors around the world who so generously roll up their sleeves to donate blood. If you’re a blood donor, thank you, and if you’re not, perhaps today will inspire you to become one.

The theme for World Blood Donor Day this year is “Every blood donor is a hero.” Sometimes we associate the term “hero” with life-risking rescues or feats of bravery. But simply by donating blood just once, your donation can improve or save three lives.

It only takes an hour to donate a pint of blood. Within 56 days, our bodies are able to replace the blood we’ve donated. Donors can give blood six times a year.

Who donates blood?

About 420,000 Canadians generously donate blood each year. According to the Canadian Blood Services, here’s a snapshot of who those donors are:

  • men donate more often than women (way to go, guys! Come on, ladies, roll up your sleeves!)
  • older people donate more often than younger people (those between the ages of 66 and 70 donate twice as much blood as those between the ages of 17 and 19)
  • 46 percent of first-time blood donors are between 17 and 24 years old
  • Eastern and Western Canadians donate the same amount of blood

What is donated blood needed for?

The number one need is to help victims of car accidents. It can take up to 50 blood donations to help one person who’s seriously injured in a car accident.

Donations are needed on a regular basis to help people with a variety of health problems:

  • 8 donations a week help one person with leukemia
  • 5 donations a week help one person who’s undergoing heart surgery
  • 2 donations a day help one person who’s having a bone marrow transplant

When my son was born two and a half months prematurely, he received several blood transfusions. I’ve always been grateful to the people who donated the blood that helped him stay alive. (He’s a healthy 24-year-old today.)

How can I donate?

For more information on how you can donate blood, check out Canadian Blood Services in Canada or the American Red Cross in the United States..

Roll up your sleeves and relax for an hour, knowing you may be helping to save someone’s life. Unless you’re like alive’s digital content coordinator Vince Yim (pictured above) who turned blood donation into a Rubik’s cube-solving blood donation event.

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