National Blood Donor Week - Voluntary blood donation: keeping us safe



    MONTREAL, June 7 /CNW Telbec/ - During the 2nd annual National Blood
Donor Week, from June 8 to 14, Héma-Québec wishes to highlight the importance
of blood donation and thank all the people who contribute to its mission.
    The theme for 2009 is achieving 100 per cent non-remunerated donation of
blood and blood components-the theme of World Blood Donor Day, which will
close the event on June 14. The objective is to promote universal access to
safe transfusions through voluntary blood donation.

    "In Québec, we are very fortunate to rely on a blood reserve that meets
the highest safety standards. Non-remunerated blood donation is the
cornerstone of our blood collection system, which rests entirely on the
commitment of people acting for purely humanitarian reasons," said Dr.
Francine Décary, President and Chief Executive Officer of Héma-Québec.

    National Blood Donor Week will be celebrated in several ways in Québec,
including a special motion at the National Assembly where a blood drive will
be held. From June 12 to 14, Héma-Québec representatives will be on hand at
the Eureka! Festival in the Old Port of Montréal to provide information about
blood and blood groups. Lastly, a roadside and public transit poster campaign
will thank donors and volunteers for giving the gift of life. This year, the
posters will feature actor and director Denis Bouchard, the group Mes Aieux
and host Isabelle Racicot.
    Donors and volunteers will be honoured at various blood drive sites. They
will be given a warm welcome, and various partners of the blood donation cause
will speak of their gratitude for volunteers and donors' dedication. These
partners will include some blood product recipients, members of the
Association of Blood Donation Volunteers and Héma-Québec management.
    The need for blood is constant-1,000 donations are required daily to meet
hospital demand. Today, Héma-Québec is able to give patients access to safe
blood products in sufficient quantities because of those who make Québec's
adequate blood reserve possible. The immeasurable support of these hundreds of
thousands of people who contribute to Québec's blood reserve through one or
more blood or blood component donation(s) or their volunteer work makes it all
possible.

    "National Blood Donor Week is a chance to remember that the blood supply
is the result of a terrific sharing chain. Héma-Québec salutes the commitment
of hundreds of people who get involved every day to improve or even save the
lives of some 80,000 patients every year," added Dr. Décary.

    About Héma-Québec

    Héma-Québec aims to efficiently provide adequate quantities of safe,
optimal blood components, substitutes, human tissues and cord blood to meet
the needs of all Quebecers; provide and develop expertise along with
specialized and innovative services and products in the fields of transfusion
medicine and human tissue transplantation.
    Héma-Québec counts 1,300 employees, some 2,000 blood drives and more than
300,000 blood donors every year, 16,000 partner volunteers and more than
450,000 blood products delivered to hospitals in Québec annually to fulfill
the needs of patients.

    Give blood. Give life.




For further information:

For further information: Laurent Paul Ménard, External Communications
Director, (514) 832-0871, lpmenard@hema-quebec.qc.ca; www.hema-quebec.qc.ca;
Source: Valérie Legault, Information Officer

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