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American Red Cross Honors Blood Collection Professionals During Blood Collectors Week 2007
Date:9/17/2007

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- During the week of September 16-22, the American Red Cross will join other blood centers across the country in celebrating Blood Collectors Week, sponsored by AABB and Fenwal Blood Technologies. This annual recognition highlights the critical role blood collectors serve in helping to ensure blood is available to patients in need.

During this special week, the Red Cross honors its blood collection staff for their role in educating donors and helping to ensure a safe and comfortable donation experience. Blood collection professionals help facilitate either a whole blood or apheresis donation. In a whole blood donation, a pint of blood is collected and then divided into its therapeutic components for transfusion. With an apheresis donation, a donor gives a specific therapeutic component--platelets, plasma or red blood cells. Red blood cells represent the blood component in highest demand with about 14 million units transfused annually.

"The dedicated work of our blood collectors across the country is absolutely critical to our life-saving mission," said Mark W. Everson, President and CEO, American Red Cross. "As the nation's largest supplier of blood and blood products, we are committed to keeping our blood supply safe and providing the most efficient, consumer-friendly service possible to our donors."

Each year, the Red Cross collects approximately 6.5 million units of blood, from roughly 4.5 million volunteer blood donors. From these donations, the Red Cross distributes around 9.5 million blood products each year, including 6 million red blood cells, to patients at approximately 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. This work is accomplished through the organization's national network, comprised of 9 divisions and 36 Blood Services regions.

Blood products are routinely transfused to those with cancer and other diseases, organ transplant recipients, and accident and trauma victims. Volunteer blood donors are the primary source of blood used for transfusions, and the American Red Cross supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood supply to those patients in need.

Community members are encouraged to show their support for this profession by making a blood donation to help the Red Cross meet local blood supply needs. To schedule your donation, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or visit http://www.givelife.org.

The American Red Cross helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Last year, almost a million volunteers and 35,000 employees helped victims of almost 75,000 disasters; taught lifesaving skills to millions; and helped U.S. service members separated from their families stay connected. Almost 4 million people gave blood through the Red Cross, the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The American Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.


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SOURCE American Red Cross
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