Red sails in the sunset, way out on the sea
Oh, carry my loved one home safely to me
She sailed at the dawning, all day I've been blue
Red sails in the sunset, I'm trusting in you
—Nat King Cole
Nat King Cole might have been writing for this very moment: June 14th is World Blood Donor Day, and it's a special day for me. I have a very rare blood type, AB negative, which less that 0.5% of Canadians have. Other than making me feel special this means they sometimes want to do blood aphersis on me to sieve out the good stuff from my blood before giving the dross back. It's pretty cool to belong to the rare blood club, though.
I started donating blood back in high school. At age seventeen you could donate with a parent's permission slip, and they gave you the afternoon off. To a high school kid it was a pretty straightforward equation: lose some blood, get out of jail free! I've kept up donating over the years, and by now could fill a few carboys with my spare oxygenating circulation medium.
If you're a donor, I'd like to tell you thanks. At least four people very dear to me have been saved by blood products donated by folks like you, and every day thousands of people rely on blood and blood products to help them through injury and illness ranging from accidents, surgery (a liver transplant needs ten units!), severe burns, chemotherapy, haemophilia, leukaemia and many more. There are few people whose lives haven't been touched by donated blood.
If you haven't donated before, it's never too late to start--less than 3.5% of the eligible population donates and we could use your help. It doesn't hurt, it takes less than an hour, your donation can help up to three people when they split it into whole blood, platelets and plasma, and you burn off 650 calories in a single donation (didn't know that, did you?)
Achieving 100 percent non-remunerated donation of blood and blood components¨
Millions of people around the world owe their lives to individuals they will never meet – people who donate their blood to help others. But millions more still can’t get safe blood when they need it. World Blood Donor Day, celebrated on June 14 every year, provides a unique opportunity to thank those very special people that help and to raise awareness about the need for more support.
Established by the World Health Assembly, this day marks the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the Nobel laureate who discovered the ABO blood group system. There is broad international support to raise awareness of the need for safe blood around the world and encourage eligible individuals to donate blood regularly so that blood is readily available for all who need it when required