June 14 is World Blood Donor Day
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 6:06PM
Laurie Brady - Webmaster

World Blood Donor Day Recognizes
92 Million Selfless Heroes Worldwide

Michigan Blood Pays Tribute to Donors Statewide – Shares TOP TEN Stories

They are co-workers, family members, classmates and neighbors … the everyday people that save lives of strangers. On Friday, June 14th millions of blood donors will be recognized as part of World Blood Donor Day.

Blood collection from voluntary donors is the cornerstone of a safe and sufficient blood supply. At Michigan Blood, more than 100,000 donors help serve the needs of hospitals around the state. These donors assure that patients who are suffering from massive trauma, undergoing surgery, or in need of cancer therapy have the blood needed to stay alive.

On the week of June 14th, Michigan Blood is recognizing its highest level donors, those who have given multiple gallons of blood throughout their years of donating.

Considering it takes eight pints to make up a gallon, many of these donors have made more than 250 trips to blood centers or mobile blood drives throughout the course of their donation history. Michigan Blood’s top ten donors gave a total of 346 gallons, which means they potentially helped more than 8,300 people!

Michigan Blood Top 10 Donors Statewide*

38 gallons      William Sebold, Frankenmuth
37 gallons      Kenneth Appleton, Flint
37 gallons      Dick Benjamin, Holland
37 gallons      Jack Nelson, Big Rapids
35 gallons      Thomas Muller, Coopersville
34 gallons      Melvin Wood, Rockford
32 gallons      Mark Mortensen, Kent City
32 gallons      Robert Fowler, Saginaw
32 gallons      Elmer Scholten, Jenison
32 gallons      Jerald Vincent, Hemlock

* Statewide numbers as of March 2013. This list does not include apheresis-only donors. This special group of dedicated apheresis donors will be recognized in an upcoming campaign – stay tuned for details.

Dick Benjamin from Holland was still in high school the first time he donated blood. He almost passed a blood drive on his way home from work, but felt compelled to turn around and has been donating ever since. “I knew that blood has this element in it called life,” says Dick. “It can’t be artificially manufactured and it can only come from one place: a donor.”

Jenison resident Elmer Scholten has donated 32 gallons. He began donating when his friend had heart surgery and needed blood right away. Although Elmer first donated to help his friend, he’s continued donating because he believes it’s a duty. “The most important one is the first one,” he says. “Once you start, there’s nothing to it.”

We invite the public to stop by our donor center between June 14-June 28 during our regularly scheduled donor hours to find out more about what inspired these lifesavers to start donating, and what motivates them to keep on giving. Visitors who want to donate can schedule an appointment at 1-866-MIBlood or miblood.org. 

About World Blood Donor Day

From the World Health Organization (WHO): World Blood Donor Day, celebrated on 14 June every year, serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood. 92 Million blood donations are made worldwide each year.  62 countries collect 100% of blood supplies from voluntary unpaid donors.  The slogan marking this year’s 10th World Donor Day is "Give the gift of life: donate blood."  Many patients requiring transfusion, particularly in developing countries, do not have timely access to safe blood. Regular voluntary blood donors are the safest source of blood, as there are fewer blood borne infections among these donors than among people who donate for family members in emergencies or who give blood for payment. In low- and middle-income countries, the greatest use of donated blood is for pregnancy-related complications and severe childhood anemia.  In high-income countries, transfusion is most commonly used for supportive care in heart surgery, transplant surgery, massive trauma and cancer therapy.

Article originally appeared on Michigan Blood (http://www.miblood.org/).
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