World Blood Donor Day was celebrated on Thursday by the government and private hospitals. The day is observed in memory of Karl Landsteiner, who developed the system of grouping blood and to thank those who had donated blood so that strangers could live.

The theme for this year was ‘Every blood donor is a hero', with the aim of encouraging more people to voluntarily donate blood. The objective of this year's campaign organised by Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society was to reinforce the self-esteem of those who donate blood and inspire those who are in good health to participate in donation, said A.C. Mohandoss, project director.

The State has a network of 274 licensed blood banks, including 85 run by the government and 180 by private organisations. A total of nine blood banks are listed as quasi/central banks. The State leads the country in voluntary blood donations and quality of blood supplied to the patients.

In 2011-12, a total of 7,11,080 units of blood were collected in the State and 94 per cent of it was from voluntary donors. On Thursday, TANSACS and the State Blood Transfusion Council handed over a vehicle to collect blood to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital. The vehicle worth Rs. 8 lakh was sponsored by Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited. Promotional pamphlets about blood donation were released and a rally was organised at the Marina beach.

Apollo Hospitals also honoured blood donors on the occasion. The participants at the rally were also were explained about the significance of blood donation. Regular donors were presented awards and children who underwent blood transfusion expressed their gratitude by awarding certificates and mementos to frequent donors. Individuals, corporate houses and educational institutions and blood banks were honoured.

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