For the seventh year in a row, Saturn and its retailers throughout the United States will be encouraging Americans to become life-saving donors during the week of Valentine’s Day.  Saturn stores, blood banks, organ and tissue recovery organizations and various media outlets in many communities combine to create donor awareness events across the nation.


National Donor Day is the largest, single-day donor awareness event in the country.  Its mission is quite simple - to encourage people to make a positive decision about giving blood, joining the bone marrow registry and signing an organ & tissue donor card.  Since 1997, Donor Day events have generated more than 37,000 whole blood donors and 7,000 new names on the national bone marrow registry.


This year, the national kick-off for Saturn National Donor Day will be held in Gainesville, Fl with entertainment from 10 am to 3 pm on February 11 at Saturn of Gainesville.   Weather permitting the Saturn Lightship will watch the festivities from the skies, as the 1 pm press conference gets underway.


The press conference will feature Chris Klug, the 2002 Olympic Bronze medalist in the first Olympic Parallel Slalom Snowboarding event in Salt Lake City.  In 2002, Chris survived a liver transplant to continue his ski-racing career.    Also, there will be a first-time meeting between a bone-marrow recipient and their donor.

Here are things to know.

Over 80,000 patients currently await a life-saving organ transplant. An average of 17 people die every day because not enough organs are available to meet the need.  Over 900,000 tissue transplants are performed each year.  Organ and tissue donation pledge cards will be available at all Saturn retail facilities on Saturn National Donor Day. Pledge cards can also be obtained by calling 800-553-6670.

Each year, approximately 30,000 patients in the U.S. will be diagnosed with life-threatening diseases, like leukemia, which are treatable by a marrow or blood stem cell transplant. Just one in three will find a donor match within their family.  Many Saturn retailers will offer the opportunity to join the National Marrow Donor Program Registry – all it takes is a simple blood test. Anyone between the ages of 18-60 and in good general health can join the Registry.

Blood is typically in short supply during February, and this year the shortage is expected to be especially grave. Although 60 percent of Americans are eligible to give blood, only 5 percent donate. Blood drives will be available at many Saturn locations and where not available, blood donation may be pledged for a later date at a different location.

In addition, demands for a transplant among minority populations is disproportionately high, while traditional minority representation among donor pools is not meeting the need. As a result of these two divergent trends, there is a greatly heightened need for donor awareness within minority communities. National Donor Day seeks to spread awareness of this heightened need among African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.

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Flowers wilt, candy gets eaten…but a lifesaving-gesture is a true expression of love.