World Blood Donor Day, June 14, 2007 - Héma-Québec thanks blood donors

    MONTREAL, June 14 /CNW Telbec/ - For several years now, Héma-Québec has
taken advantage of World Blood Donor Day, celebrated on June 14, to thank
blood donors for their show of solidarity with patients in need of blood
products. The theme this year is "Safe Blood for Safe Motherhood." Organized
by Héma-Québec in collaboration with Health Canada and Canadian Blood
Services, the event aims to highlight how voluntary blood donors can help save
the lives of thousands of mothers and newborns around the world.

    A grateful mother, Merryl Nteme

    An adopted Quebecer since 1999, born in Gabon, Africa, Ms. Merryl Nteme
is an old hand at blood transfusions, as she suffers from drepanocytosis.
Commonly called sickle-cell anemia, this hereditary disease affects how red
blood cells are shaped and the way they function. This disease requires
regular blood transfusions. "I have known two very different realities.
Indeed, in Gabon, blood was quite frequently simply not available. I want to
thank all blood donors. Their generosity has allowed me to live and fulfill a
dream that is now six months old: Willyam! All mothers and children around the
world should have the same opportunity," declared Merryl Nteme.

    The power of volunteers

    Thanks to the goodwill and generosity of the people of Quebec, there has
been no shortage of blood products in the province since 1998. In addition to
the 300,000 volunteer donors, the Quebec supplier of blood products relies on
16,000 people across Quebec who devote hundreds of thousands of hours
recruiting donors and promoting and organizing blood drives. "One of the best
things about Héma-Québec is the emphasis it has placed on its volunteers since
the very beginning. With the essential collaboration of our community partners
and personnel, more than 3,000 blood drive days are organized every year,
keeping Quebec's collective blood supply at an optimal level," explained Dr.
Francine Décary, President and Chief Executive Officer of Héma-Québec.
    In collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Héma-Québec
shares its expertise by taking active part in training activities. "Our
researchers are known around the world for their innovations and knowledge
regarding blood, its processing and its storage. Our company serves as a model
for many countries," added Dr. Décary.
    Celebrated in more than 80 countries, World Blood Donor Day was
instituted in 2005 by the World Health Assembly. It was first hosted by the
United Kingdom, then Thailand. This date commemorates the birth of Professor
Karl Landsteiner, the Nobel Prize winner who developed the ABO system of blood
    To learn more about blood donations or for any questions regarding
eligibility to donate blood, call 1 888 666-HEMA (4362) or visit Héma-Québec's
website at

    Héma-Québec was created in September 1998 with the mission 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 is 1,300 employees, some 3,000 days of blood drives and more
than 300,000 blood donors each year, 16,000 volunteer partners and 400,000
blood products delivered each year to Quebec hospitals to meet patients'

    Give blood. Give life.

For further information:

For further information: Valérie Legault, Public Affairs Coordinator,
(514) 832-0871;; Source: Michel Thisdel, Acting Public
Affairs Director

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