World Blood Donor Day: History, significance and this year’s theme

Every year, World Blood Donor Day is observed on June 14 to promote the importance of blood donation. This serves as a means to get the attention of voluntary, unpaid blood donors to celebrate life and humanity. Not only does the day help people thank the blood donors for their kind acts, but it also raises awareness about safe blood donation practices.


World Blood Donor Day was initially established by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2004. The next year, the WHO declared the date as an annual celebration to promote the importance of blood donation.

The history of blood donation can be traced back to ancient times, and the practice is said to have started in the 17th century. In 1666, an English physician, Richard Lower, reported the first successful blood transfusion among animals. A French physician, Jean Baptiste Denis, performed a blood transfusion from an animal to a human and later to another human and both survived. Later, Richard Lower also performed a similar blood transfusion. However, the practice was abandoned afterwards for several years.

WHO decided to celebrate Blood Donor Day on the birth anniversary of Karl Landsteiner, an American-Austrian immunologist and pathologist. He successfully identified three blood groups in human blood: A, B, and O. In addition, he found that blood transfusion between humans having the same blood group does not lead to the destruction of blood cells, but it will happen if it is done between people of different blood groups.

For his contribution to the field of blood transfusion, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1930.


The significance of Blood Donor Day lies in the fact that the world is continuously struggling with diseases. Hence, it is crucial to promote blood donation is crucial. Many countries still depend on paid donors or family members for blood, which reasserts the importance of encouraging more people to donate blood and help needy people. It is also important to thank blood donors and motivate them to donate blood regularly.

Theme and Objectives

As the world celebrates Blood Donor Day on June 14, 2024, it marks 20 years of acknowledging the day. So, WHO and other organisations worldwide unite behind the theme: 20 years of celebrating giving: thank you blood donors!

They are taking the opportunity to thank blood donors worldwide for their kind acts and impact on patients and donors. Other objectives are to portray the achievements and challenges of blood programs, to draw attention towards regular, unpaid blood donation, and to promote a culture of regular blood donation among the young generation.

Blood donation is not only impactful for the receivers but also suitable for the donors, as it helps keep their health well. After not less than 48 hours of blood donation, the body provides new blood cells, which improve overall well-being. Blood donation regularly helps donors keep their iron levels healthy, protects them from cardiovascular illness, reduces the risk of heart attacks, and identifies medical issues like anaemia or infectious disease.