Feature

Blood bath

Fireman bear and constable care with Red Cross blood mascot Photo: Nell Van

St John Ambulance, the Western Australia Police Force and Department of Fire and Emergency Services gathered at Optus Stadium today to officially launch the 2019 national Emergency Services Blood Challenge. 

The emergency services teams will compete to collect the most blood donations, in the ‘donate with a mate’ challenge.

The annual campaign is in its eleventh year, and will run from June 1 to August 31, urging people to donate through winter as it is a difficult time for blood donations due to cold and flu symptoms.

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is aiming for more than 900 donations this year, in WA alone, to help save West Australian lives.

Blood Service Regional Partnerships Manager Yvonne Stickland said the 2018 National Challenge found 58 state-based organisations across Australia made more than 10 600 donations which saved more than 32 000 lives in three months. 

Over 1000 people can cancel their blood donation appointments daily, up to and throughout the cold and flu season, she said. 

Blood recipient and Paramedic Jason Ellis was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia (APML) and says blood donations helped save his life, and urged anyone eligible to sign up and donate. 

“…I needed 36 blood products, without them I would be dead,” he said. 

Red Cross regional team member Tiffany Gourlay said anyone can donate as long as they are aged over 18, weigh over 50 kgs and are in good overall health with no colds, coughs or flus in the last seven days, and haven’t been overseas in the last 4 months.

“We always check [blood pressure and haemoglobin levels before donating] to make sure you are safe and healthy first, before you start being a superhero and saving other people’s lives,” she said. 

For more information or to make an appointment call 13 14 95 or visit donateblood.com.au.

Video: Nell Van