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

Montréal, June 14, 2007 – 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 typing.

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 www.hema-quebec.qc.ca.

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’ needs.

Give blood. Give life.

Watch the Live Webcast, be at the celebration in Ottawa

  Merry Nteme testimony

  Biographical notes Dre Francine Décary

  Héma-Québec Fact Sheet

  Blood donation Fact Sheet

- 30 -