Most people rarely give the blood flowing through their veins a second thought, but blood donors give their precious gift because they know many patients desperately need it and it saves lives. World Blood Donor Day (WBDD), on 14 June each year, raises awareness of the universal need for safe, good quality, blood and blood products that are used during transfusions.
Blood is an essential life force which carries oxygen and nutrients around the body when pumped by the heart through a network of arteries and veins. Bone marrow is soft, spongey tissue located inside bones that produces blood cells but illness can disrupt this process.
Children who have cancer sometimes have problems creating enough blood cells and need a transfusion. Blood cancers, such as leukaemia, can affect bone marrow, as can treatments for cancer such as chemotherapy and radiation, and often oncology patients require many transfusions during their treatment.
Volunteers who give blood are highly sought after, and many countries experience problems in making sufficient blood available for those who need it. Just knowing they are giving someone the chance to live, and have quality of life, motivates these inspiring heroes and on this special day we can thank them and encourage others to give as well.