Blood transfusions have been studied for hundreds of years. During these experimental years, it was discovered that combining blood from two different people could cause agglutination, or clotting, causing toxic reactions within the body. It wasn’t until 1901 that blood transfusions became safe. (1)
Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian scientist and Nobel prize winner, was in his early 30s when he made his revolutionary discovery of the ABO blood group system. Because of his work, the idea of safe blood transfusions became a reality, changing the lives of millions of people throughout the course of history.
His discovery greatly impacted World War I, helping to save soldiers risking their lives on the battlefields of the world. More than 100 years later his work is still saving lives on and off the battlefield. Landsteiner is a true hero and, for that, a special day is celebrated. (2)
World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) is Monday, June 14, Landsteiner’s birthday. This celebration exists, not to recognize the Austrian scientist’s discovery, nor to get a mass amount of blood on this one day. Instead, events in countries around the world are taking place to honor those heroes who altruistically donate blood to save lives. They are the foundation of a safe blood supply.
In some countries, blood donors are paid. And in others, people only donate when a family member is in need. WBDD exists to also encourage these countries to pursue altruistic donors for a safe and adequate blood supply. (3)
The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center is celebrating WBDD with an event of its own. On Friday, June 18, blood donors and recipients will come together in an attempt to form the world’s largest human blood drop. If you can join us, we’ll be at Alamo Stadium on 110 Tuleta Drive, San Antonio, Texas, at 5 p.m. Register ahead of time to secure your World Blood Donor Day T-shirt.
Click here to register.
Want more information? View this instructional video.
To see what other parts of the world are doing to celebrate WBDD, click here.
Sources: 1. http://nobelprize.org/educational/medicine/landsteiner/readmore.html 2. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/redgold/innovators/bio_landsteiner.html 3. http://wbdd.org/index.php?id=1
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