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Donating blood: an act of solidarity that saves lives

14 June 2022

14 June is an opportunity to thank the heroes of everyday life, who are often too discreet: blood donors… even though, thanks to their commitment, hospitals are able to treat the sick and injured. World Blood Donor Day pays tribute to them and highlights their essential role in the smooth running of the Luxembourg health system.

Blood and blood products are essential resources for the proper care of many people: women during childbirth, people suffering from anaemia or bone marrow disorders, victims of trauma, disasters, and accidents, not to mention patients undergoing complex medical and surgical procedures.

“It may seem obvious, but the fact of the matter is that nothing is possible without donors. These are men and women who come spontaneously to help other human beings. This is, I think, the most ‘perfect’ definition of a generous and free act: they take their personal time, they go out, they give and then go home. You see them on the street, and they are just people like you and me. You don’t see that they have saved lives, by a very simple gesture. Every year on 14 June, we say a big thank you to them! Especially after the two years we’ve been through: they’ve been there every time we’ve needed them.”

Dr Anne Schuhmacher, medical director of the Luxembourg Red Cross Blood Transfusion Centre

Indeed, with the decline of the pandemic and the resumption of activities in hospitals, the need for blood products has increased again: “We are organised to have a stock that is capable of meeting the needs of the country’s hospitals. But after a few years of a slight decline in needs, we are now facing a regular increase in demand. This is quite normal: a certain number of operations or treatments that were postponed at the height of the pandemic have been rescheduled. In turn, the needs have increased. And we are coping, with existing donors, and new donors.” In Luxembourg, more than 10 000 people gave blood in 2021.

The Luxembourg Red Cross Blood Transfusion Centre is constantly looking for new donors. Human blood is such a complex product that it cannot be synthetically produced. Its main components, namely red blood cells, platelets, and plasma, are separated after collection and can each be transfused to a different person, depending on their needs. Thus, giving blood once means helping up to three different people.

The professionals at the Blood Transfusion Centre are available to answer questions or to make appointments on 27 55-4000, Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm and on Wednesday and Thursday until 6pm. In good health, women can give blood every 4 months and men every 3 months.