The first World Blood Donor Day was celebrated in Johannesburg, South Africa on June 14, 2004 after the fifty-eighth World Health Assembly’s unanimous commitment to the day of awareness. World Blood Donor Day was created to educate people concerning the importance of safe and regular voluntary blood donation, while also serving as an opportunity to thank the millions of people who donate blood every year without any expectation of remuneration. The theme for 2011′s World Blood Donor Day is, “More blood. More life.” with the purpose of reminding people throughout the world that they can save lives by donating blood on a regular basis. Cities everywhere are encouraged to join the “Paint the world red” campaign in order to celebrate voluntary blood donors and bring awareness to this important day, by organizing public events like lighting monuments or landmarks in red, hosting blood drives, or creating a “human blood drop” in public.
I donated blood a couple of times in college but that seems like forever ago, and long gone are the days of having to round my weight up a couple of pounds in order to meet the minimum requirement. I’ve always been a big proponent of volunteering what you can when you can, but I have to admit that the only times I’ve donated blood was when it was convenient; during both cases of my college-day donations my dorm was hosting a blood drive in our building. After I left college I started on a series of tattoos and piercings (in retrospect, I’m just glad the eyebrow ring didn’t last long), which made me ineligible as a blood donor for a period of time.
But even after the body art ceased and I became increasingly interested in making a blood donation, I still didn’t go out of my way to make the time. Then, last year, while Chris and I were shopping in Spotsylvania Mall we came across a blood drive. That’s when I found out that Chris had never made a donation! He’d always assumed he was ineligible due to his epilepsy medication but, as it turns out, Depacote is an approved drug for blood donors. So we decided to extend our shopping trip and spent about an hour waiting and doing the preliminary paperwork, only to find out that we were both deferred for one year because we had visited Tulum, Mexico during our honeymoon. We were only at the ruins for three hours, but I guess an bloodthirsty iguana could have bitten us or something, so that was that. Being denied the opportunity to give blood made me realize what a waste it was that I hadn’t donated while I could, and Chris and I vowed to make a donation before our next trip out of the country (later this year).