National Donor Day Date in the current year: February 14, 2024

National Donor Day National Donor Day, also known as National Organ Donor Day even though it doesn’t focus exclusively on organ donation, is celebrated annually on February 14. The observance was created in 1998 to raise awareness of the different types of donation and their life-saving benefits.

There are five main types of donation that save people’s lives: blood donation, platelet donation, organ donation, tissue donation, and marrow donation. Blood donation is probably the best-known type of donation. It occurs when a person has their blood drawn voluntarily to be used for transfusions. Donors can donate whole blood or blood components (for example, red blood cells or plasma).

Platelet donation is a type of blood donation where trombocytes, also known as platelets, are collected. Platelets are blood cells involved in clotting; platelet transfusions are used to treat or prevent bleeding in people with clotting disorders and patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Organ/tissue donation is the process when a donor has their organ or tissue removed and transplanted to another person. Some organs (for example, kidney or part of the liver, pancreas, lungs, or intestines) can be donated by a living donor, but most donations occurs after the donor’s death. Depending on the jurisdiction, consent for posthumous organ donation can be opt-in (a person must actively sign up as a donor prior to their death) or opt-out (an adult over 18 is automatically considered a willing donor unless they have explicitly stated their preference against organ donation).

Finally, bone marrow donations are made for hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT), a procedure used in the treatment of blood cancers. Finding a compatible donor for a patient in need of HSCT is very hard. Because of this, bone marrow donor registries exist. To become a registered potential bone marrow donor, one needs to have an HLA (human leukocyte antigen) test done and then have their information added to a database.

National Donor Day was launched in 1998 by the Saturn Corporation (an American automobile manufacturer) in partnership with the United Auto Workers (an American labor union representing automobile, aerospace and agricultural implement workers). The Saturn Corporation has since gone defunct, but National Donor Day lives on. It is supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, hospitals, blood donation centers, and various nonprofit health organizations across the nation.

There are many ways to observe National Donor Day. You can learn more about the different types of donations, sign up for blood or platelet donation, look into having your information added to a bone marrow registry, register as an organ, eye and tissue donor, participate in a fundraising event, and post on social media with the hashtag #NationalDonorDay. If you have received a transplant or have had your life saved by a blood transfusion, consider sharing your story online to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation and encourage more people to become donors.

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National Donor Day, observances in the US, blood donation, organ donation, tissue donation, platelet donation, marrow donation