Rotary recognized for community blood donor campaigns

By Wayne Hearn
Rotary International News

9 November 2006

In recognition of the ongoing effort by Rotary clubs to increase the world's blood supply through voluntary donations, Rotary International has received the 2006 Outstanding Achievement Award from the AABB, formerly the American Association of Blood Banks.

Rotary International Director Barry Rassin accepted the award on October 24 during AABB's annual meeting in Miami Beach, Florida, USA. The award, given annually to one individual and one organization, cites Rotary "for embracing the mission of blood donation and for the organization's instrumental role in helping to provide safe blood in communities around the world."

Recent research conducted by the Schieffer School of Journalism at Texas Christian University (TCU) indicates local Rotary campaigns add an estimated 817,000 units per year to the world's blood supply. Club-level blood collection activities are underway in about 60 percent of Rotary districts responding to the TCU survey.

"It is wonderful to see recognition for the work Rotary clubs do around the world to save lives by collecting blood," says Rassin, CEO of Doctors Hospital Health System in the Bahamas. Rassin notes that his own Rotary Club of East Nassau keeps records of each member's blood type in order to respond quickly and efficiently to specific needs of the hospital's blood bank.

North Texas has emerged as an epicenter of Rotary-led blood collection activities. Charles Kurtzman of the Rotary Club of Fort Worth-South, says over 100 clubs, many in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, have added more than 50,000 units to the region's supply since 1996, when he founded the Governors' Challenge blood drive. Clubs typically work in partnership with community blood centers, such as Texas-based Carter BloodCare, which nominated Rotary for the AABB award. Other countries with aggressive Rotary club-driven blood collection programs include South Africa, India, the Philippines and Denmark.

Read more about how Rotary clubs contribute to blood drives in the October edition of Rotary International Interactive.


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