5 Key Organizations Maintaining The Blood Supply

Donor blood is essential in the treatment of patients in a variety of circumstances, including serious accidents, childbirth, cancer treatments, and many other conditions. In no particular order, here are a few organizations ensuring that hospitals and healthcare centers have the blood they need to treat patients.

At #1 is the American Red Cross. Founded in 1881, the organization aims to serve all those in need through a variety of programs, ranging from first aid certification to disaster relief. In the 1940s, the Red Cross developed the first civilian blood program, which still provides more than 40% of donor blood in the country.

The Red Cross assists both individuals and organizations in hosting blood drives. Organizers provide a location for the drive, and have volunteers to schedule the donations and recruit donors. The Red Cross provides equipment and trained staff in order to help the blood collection process.

Next up at #2 is America's Blood Centers. ABC's member organizations operate more than 600 collection sites, providing close to 60% of America's donor blood and a quarter of the Canadian supply. These centers serve more than 150 million people in over 3,000 hospitals.

ABC advocates for policies that promote independent blood centers, advancing their work in providing life-saving donations. The organization also has an international branch known as ADRP, which provides educational opportunities to blood banks worldwide in order to improve their donor recruitment and management.

At #3 is the Rhode Island Blood Center. The organization was founded in 1979 as a non-profit community center. Today, R.I.B.C. is the primary supplier of blood to patients in hospitals throughout Rhode Island and neighboring states. It operates the only full-service testing laboratory of its kind in New England, including two specialty laboratories.

R.I.B.C. also registers people for the National Marrow Donor Program, collecting stem cells in order to match them to recipients needing bone marrow transplants. The organization is involved in a variety of research programs in an effort to improve all aspects of the blood supply.

Next at #4 is the Welsh Blood Service. The WBS is part of the National Blood Transfusion Service in England and Wales, which was established in 1946. However, the organization is treated as a separate entity, and has been managed by the Welsh government since 1994.

The WBS takes care of the collection, testing, processing, and distribution of blood throughout the entire country. The Welsh Transplantation & Immunogenetics Laboratory is also part of WBS, and provides direct support to local providers of renal and stem cell transplant services.

Last up at #5 is Bloodworks Northwest, an independent non-profit organization that provides to 95% of hospitals in America's Pacific Northwest. The organization's Core Blood Program partners with hospitals across the region to acquire umbilical cord blood for use in cancer treatment.

Bloodworks NW established The Washington Institute for Blood Disorders in 1974, in order to treat hemophilia and bleeding disorders. The institute also works to improve transfusion medicine, cancer therapies, organ transplants, and other life-saving medical practices.