Each year on June 14, the international blood community joins together to celebrate blood donors. This year, World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) holds special significance to the Capitol Hill community as it is the anniversary of the shooting at the congressional baseball practice. During that terrible event, several individuals suffered significant injuries, including U.S. House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who required blood transfusions to save his life. In his words, “without blood drives…, I wouldn’t be here today, so please consider giving.”
To recognize the importance of blood donation, members of the Republican and Democrat congressional baseball teams have joined together in a bipartisan, bicameral effort to promote WBDD, blood donors, and the vital work of independent blood centers. Specifically, the members of Congress listed below have sent a letter to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate encouraging their colleagues “to visit their local blood center during the recess the week after 6/14 to learn more about the continuous need for blood donation and to support their life-saving work.” To support this effort, we encourage you to utilize the enclosed letter to inform members of Congress who represent your center(s) of this effort and invite them to visit your facility. This is an ideal time for you to promote the value you bring to your communities and the overall healthcare system. You can find the legislators that represent your center(s) by zip code via the ABC Action Center. A list of staff contacts for each congressional office can be found here. Please note that you should only contact legislators in areas where you have a center presence.
In addition to the letter that is circulating over the next two weeks, Representatives John Shimkus (R-IL), Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Kevin Brady (R-TX) will deliver statements on the House floor recognizing WBDD and the importance of blood donation on June 12. We will make sure ABC members receive a video of their remarks.
ABC is here to assist you in this effort in any way possible and hope you will contact us with any questions. We will also send information to all congressional offices encouraging them to visit their local blood center and assist in connecting them to the center in their area.
Please contact ABC with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 654-2911.
Congressional Letter Authors: 1. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) 2. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) 3. Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) 4. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) 5. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) 6. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) 7. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) 8. Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) 9. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) 10. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) 11. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) 12. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) 13. Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) 14. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) 15. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) 16. Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) 17. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
Access this and other MCNs and ABC documents anytime, from anywhere at https://members.americasblood.org.
Sample Congressional Letter:
United States [Senate/House of Representatives]
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Senator/Representative [last name]:
On behalf of [name of organization], a non-profit independent blood center in your community, I invite you to visit one of our donor facilities during an upcoming congressional recess to learn more about the importance of blood donation.
Every year on June 14, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The event serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations. More than seven million Americans choose to voluntarily donate blood each year to meet the need for more than 11 million blood transfusions. A robust blood supply is required for acute care needs and to help patients suffering from lifethreatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life.
This year, World Blood Donor Day holds special significance as the anniversary of last year’s shooting at the congressional baseball practice. To recognize the importance of blood donation, members of the Republican and Democrat congressional baseball teams have joined together in a bipartisan, bicameral effort to promote World Blood Donor Day, and the vital work of independent blood centers. Specifically, a Dear Colleague letter is circulating encouraging all members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate “to visit their local blood center during the recess the week after 6/14 to learn more about the continuous need for blood donation and to support their life-saving work.”
We hope you will learn more about the vital role of a safe and adequate blood supply in your community by visiting one of our donor facilities during the next month. To confirm your visit, please contact [your name, title, phone number and email address]. Thank you for your attention to this important issue. Sincerely,
[Your Name] [Your Title]
Tips for a Successful Donor Center Visit For Internal Blood Center Use Only
Identify a host - The host will be the spokesperson on the day of the event and should be well prepared to discuss the role of the blood center in your community as well as the industry’s advocacy priorities.
Work with your center’s Public Relations department - The blood center may want to invite print, radio or television reporters to cover the donor center visit. ABC can also assist with the media effort. - Invited participants should be made aware of any invitations extended to the press. In all likelihood, the legislator will be pleased to have press coverage and may assist in efforts to publicize the event.
Select a participant - Consult with ABC as necessary to determine which legislators to invite. - Although an ideal participant is a legislator who has influence over health issues, all legislators can benefit from this program regardless of their committee assignments.
Once your participant has been selected - Extend a personal invitation to visit one of your donor centers. - If the participant is a legislator, call the legislative office and follow-up with a written invitation outlining details of the program. Invite the legislator’s key health aide to participate as well. - Recognize that legislators, like blood bankers, are extremely busy and their schedules change daily. Clarify how much time the legislator will be able to spend at your center to know how to structure the visit. - Consider pre-screening any legislator that wants to donate blood as part of their visit. During the Site Visit - Begin the visit with an introduction by the participating blood center staff and an overview of what the participant will observe. - Take every opportunity to discuss the issues important to your blood center. - Use the time to show the participant the full range of work conducted by your blood center, and why and how the blood centers’ efforts are important to the community and the broader healthcare system. - Schedule some time at the end of the visit to discuss any additional advocacy items and respond to any questions the participant may have.
After the Site Visit - Send a thank you note to the participant(s). - Send the participant and ABC copies of any photographs or press clippings about his or her participation in the program.