Tuesday 14th June marks World Blood Donor Day, an annual event organised by the World Health Organization (WHO). The day encourages people all over the world to give blood, in order to achieve the WHO’s target of ensuring that 100% of blood supplies from all countries come from voluntary donors. You can get involved through giving blood and by raising awareness of this special campaign.
‘Blood Connects Us All’
The theme of this year’s World Blood Donor Day is ‘Blood connects us all’ – a statement which is certainly true. Whether we give or receive blood, there is a way that blood donation can connect us all. The WHO’s campaign focuses on the faces behind donation, such as The Hero in the Park, The Hero on the Street and The Hero in the Gallery. We’re asked to remember to thank those who have donated blood and to show the effect it can have on recipients through sharing stories, in a bid to encourage new donors to start donating as well as encourage existing donors to keep giving.
Why blood donation is important
There is an ongoing global need for people to donate blood. Currently, there are 108 million donations collected worldwide, but half of these come from high income countries, which are only home to 18% of the global population. Whilst this is an increase compared to the 80 million donations which were collected back in 2004, it is still important that the figures increase – especially in low income countries where they are most needed. The current target is to reach 100% voluntary donation, and the WHO is working to get countries with lower donation rates on board.
Put simply, blood donation saves lives. It can help those who need emergency treatment as well as those with ongoing medical conditions. In England alone, 6,000 donations are needed to cope with the demand, meaning there is an ongoing call for donors. Some donors may no longer be able to donate, therefore 200,000 donors are needed each year. Despite the fact that the majority of people aged 17 to 65 are able to give blood, statistics show that around half of donors are from the 45 and over group. This has led to a call for younger people to start donating blood in order to ensure we have enough supplies for the future.
Getting involved in World Donor Day
You can spread awareness of World Donor Day through your work, school, college or anywhere in your local community through putting up posters and spreading the campaign’s key messages. You can also spread the word through social media channels, and sharing the Hero videos which will be released nearer the campaign date.
Of course, the most obvious way for you to take part in the campaign is to give blood. There are plenty of places you can give blood in the East Berkshire area, including:
Today (31st May): St Pauls Parish Rooms, Wokingham
6th June: Bracknell Sport and Leisure Centre
9th June- Owlsmoor Community Centre
For alternative dates and venues near you, the Give Blood website has a fantastic search facility to help you find an appointment. If you’ve never given blood before and you’re nervous about the process, speak to someone who has. They’ll be able to put you at ease and may even offer to go with you. If you’re a regular donor, use your social media channels to share your experiences and help others volunteer. Do your bit for World Blood Donor Day and help save lives both here in the UK and across the world.