Héma-Québec celebrates World Blood Donation Day on May 23, 2003

Montréal, May 23, 2003 - Today, Héma-Québec-Québec's blood supplier-is celebrating World Blood Donation Day. This day has been set aside to emphasize the importance of donating blood, a precious and unique liquid.

May 23 has been declared World Blood Donation Day by the fifty member countries of the International Federation of Blood Donors Organizations (IFBDO). In Québec, the Association des bénévoles du don de sang, a member of the IFBDO, brings together both volunteers and blood donors.

" Héma-Québec would like to thank all those Quebeckers who have donated blood for their unpaid, anonymous and voluntary deed," declared Dr. Francine Décary, Executive Director of Héma-Québec. "It is truly important that, every day, healthy individuals take a few minutes of their time to share their most precious possession, their blood, with those in need. It is a humanitarian act of enormous value that enables many recipients to get well again."

Each year, in Québec alone, some 300,000 blood donors show up at one or another of the 2,500 blood donor clinics organized by various community groups. Among these donors, several thousand are making the gift of life for the first time.

Héma-Québec's 1,280 employees and the 25,000 volunteers in charge of organizing blood donor clinics would like to encourage Quebeckers to continue to give blood in their traditionally generous manner.

Created in September 1998, Héma-Québec's mission is to efficiently provide adequate quantities of safe, top-quality blood components and substitutes to meet the needs of all Québeckers, as well as to provide and develop expertise and services, along with specialized and innovative products, in the fields of transfusion medicine and human tissue transplantation.

- 30 -