Blood donation has proven its importance since the very first blood transfusion in 1665, when Richard Lower, a physician, saved a dog’s life with the use of other dogs’ blood. Since then, advancements and new knowledge in the process of blood donation has been discovered. Now, almost all of us know that just one or two pints of blood could go a long, long way— from aiding blood loss to saving lives.
Indeed, the process of blood donation is considered as one of the most vital activities in the society. That is why it is no wonder that people of all ages come to blood banks and participate in blood donation every single year. These people have been sharing their blood for various reasons— some like to donate because they want to help those who are in need, while others do it for their loved ones.
Are you curious as to how many people donate blood every year? Do you want to know who, among these people, reached— or even surpassed— their own blood donation goals? If your answer to both questions is a big, resounding “YES,” then read on and find out who might be helping those who need blood.
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
According to the American Red Cross, the estimated number of people who donate blood in the United States every year is 9.2 million, whereas the amount of blood donations collected in a year is 15.7 million.
Unfortunately, the phrase “there is not enough blood in this world” still applies even with that large number of donors and donations. Actually, those 9.2 million American donors still do not make the cut. Only less than 10% of the estimated 38% eligible US donors give blood every year, a percentage which is not enough to fill the needs of hospitals and blood banks every day, which amounts to more than 41,000 blood donations.
That “less than 10%” is something to be grateful for, though, and it is such a great blessing to have donors who are willing to share their blood to others. The nation might still be suffering from blood shortage from time to time, but luckily, there are kind and compassionate people who donate blood more than once in their lives. And, considering that even just a pint can save up to three lives, having few donors is ten times better than having no donors at all.
MEET THE RECORD HOLDERS
It is already a wonderful thing to donate blood even just once. Nothing beats the feeling of satisfaction and selflessness that blood donation could give you. But, can you imagine doing it, constantly, for many years?
The following people have proven that blood donation need not to be burden at all. These men started donating at a young age, and as the years passed, they did not regret nor stop what they were doing. They just kept going and going… until they have reached an amazing amount of donated blood that could inspire and motivate millions of people, from beginner donors to mere spectators.
Read their stories and be driven to do the same thing:
Since he was 18 years old, Michel has been donating blood for those who need blood the most. Every week for so many years, he has given blood at the globule Blood Donor Centre, in Centre Laurier Québec. In 2009, he took a big leap for his fellow Canadians by giving blood for the 1,000th time.
This momentous event was a first for Canada, and because of his long service as a blood donor, Michel was awarded by Héma-Québec, one of Canada’s non-profit blood banks, with a medal that serves as the institution’s— and the country’s— sincerest and visible gratitude.
An engineer by profession, Michel does not intend to stop at his 1,000th mark. “As a donor, I have the power to make a huge impact on the lives of patients,” he said. “There is no price tag on that and I call on everyone to do the same… one donation at a time.”
In 2010, Australian citizen Phil Baird became the world record holder for most whole blood donations. He set a new record when he donated for the 231st time at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.
Starting out when he was just 19 years old, enlisting with the National Service, Phil has been donating blood ever since. “I have been told that I have donated more blood than is in the whole human body,” he said. True enough, he has donated a cumulative amount of 103.96 liters of blood, which is already considered many by all standards.
On Christmas Eve, he made his 231st whole blood donation, which surpassed the previous record of Robert Hall from New Zealand, who made a total of 177 blood donations.
On July 2011, John Sheppard of Fort Myers, Florida, donated his 315th pint of blood, making him a new world record holder.
John started donating blood in 1951, when his friend, a badly-wounded soldier from the Korean War, needed blood in order to live. Since then, he has been donating blood every two months, eventually giving almost 40 gallons of blood.
A retired attorney, John was happy to be a record holder, but most of all, a lifesaver. “I hope the record will inspire others to donate blood,” he said.
A war veteran, Australian citizen Peter Ray gave his 800th blood donation in August 2012, making him a record holder in Western Australia.
Peter started donating blood when he was only a 16 year-old Naval apprentice. Since then, he has been giving blood whenever he could, and eventually, he was able to help more than 2,400 lives.
He also donates plasma every two weeks, at Perth Blood Donation Center.
A simple Westminister man from Orange County, Matt made himself a living proof that good men exist when he made his 1,000th blood donation on June 2014.
Matt started giving blood— mostly platelets— 36 years ago, when he was still in college. Since then, he has been donating blood continuously, every time he could.
His 1,000th donation also came in a perfect time, since people have gone on their own vacations when Matt made his thousandth donation. His contribution filled in for the slight dip that the Red Cross experienced because of the vacation.
MILLIONS DONATED… AND COUNTING
Every two seconds, someone in the US needs blood. This is why blood donation should not stop with just one pint.
Giving blood is a noble act, and even though it is not rewarding in a monetary fashion, the fact that someone lives when you donate blood is a great feeling. Let these records and stories serve as your guide, should you consider donating blood yourself.