World Blood Donor Day: “Give Freely, Give Often”

June 12, 2015 at 11:15 am
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World blood donor day poster“Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters,” is the slogan for World Blood Donor Day, tied to the theme of thanking the donors who do just that. That makes June a great time for SBC to thank its many donors.

Celebrated annually on June 14, World Blood Donor Day also aims to draw attention to the importance of voluntary (unpaid) blood donors to ensure a safe blood supply. Worldwide, only 62 countries have national blood supplies based on close to 100% voluntary unpaid blood donations, and 40 countries still depend heavily on family donors and even paid donors, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Over the years, SBC has learned that our donors give for many reasons. Some give because they enjoy helping people and it’s just the right thing to do, others have loved ones who are blood recipients so they deeply understand the need, and some have been blood recipients themselves. (It is true, of course, that some of our donors are also inspired by a competitive streak, with friendly competitions among friends and family to out-donate each other.) Visit https://sbcstories.org to read stories that donors shared with us about why they donate.

In the same spirit, we often hear from our donors that their favorite “thank you” is hearing stories about the people they’ve helped. Still, to encourage more blood donors to give generously, many blood centers and nations try to sweeten the deal with some incentives. Here is an around-the-world-tour of some incentives:

  • Tea and biscuits in the UK
  • A paid day off from work in Italy on the day you donate, mandated and supported by federal law (employers are refunded by the state for the expense), according to the Incentive Research Foundation.

As the host for the WHO’s World Blood Center Day events this year, China offers perhaps the most unusual incentive: Better grades for the children of blood donors. As the Wall Street Journal describes in an article titled “Pricks for Points,” Pujiang county in Zhejiang province rolled out a program last year giving extra high school exam points to the children of “super-donor” parents. Students of “gold medal” donors—offering 8,000 milliliters—would get a boost of an extra three points, while the offspring of “silver medal” donors could earn an extra two points, and the children of “bronze medal” donors could win an extra point.

Whatever the reason, blood donors are incredibly valuable and deserve much thanks. Giving the gift of life through blood donation is something that many of our donors have made a family tradition, modeled by parents who now encourage their children to do the same. If you would like to donate, and make an everlasting impact on your community, make your next appointment online or by calling 888-723-7831.

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