Roll up your sleeves

National blood organisation Lifeblood says WA hospitals’ demand for blood is vital.

Data from Lifeblood shows an appetite for altruism across Australia, but many people feel like they don’t have enough money to be regular charitable donors, so the organisation is trying to encourage them into blood donation centres.

For six weeks from October 19, anyone who donates blood or plasma will receive a bandage designed by six Australian artists including West Australian Chris Nixon.

Lifeblood spokesperson Jennifer Salter says 11,000 new donors are needed nationally over the next six weeks, including 1,040 in Western Australia.

Ms Salter says there is currently a seasonal shortage due to people getting busier and the stipulation that people who have made a whole blood donation cannot return for 12 weeks.

“Right now, we do need people to come forward, we always need people to come forward and give blood. We need a donation every 24 seconds and we need a new blood donor every 5 minutes. So, the need for blood never stops,” Ms. Salter says.

‘True Colours’ campaign bandages by Australian artists. Photos: Supplied.

She says they are currently able to meet the need of Australian patients, but there is a constant demand for new donors as some of Lifeblood’s regular donors retire or cannot give blood anymore.

“It’s an amazing thing to do when you do donate blood it will take about an hour of your time but in that time, you’re saving up to three lives, which is incredible.” Ms. Salter says.

She says even though millions of Australians are eligible to donate, only 500,000 people do every year.

At the start of the pandemic, Lifeblood saw a lot of its appointments being cancelled but blood donation is considered an essential service which is exempt from any restriction.

Nevertheless, Ms. Salter says some donor centres hit record numbers of donations after callouts by health professionals.

David has been a regular blood donor since the Australian Red Cross contacted him in 1967.

He says donating blood is something charitable you can do which doesn’t cost money and is good for your body.

David after attempting to donate blood for the last time at Lifeblood. Photo: Elena Morabito.

“It’s something I like to do,” he says.

“I think it’s something very easy to do, why not do it. Rather than thinking of reasons why not to do it, just do it.”

Today was the very last time David tried to donate blood as his veins are too damaged after 52 years of donations.

Health Minister Roger Cook is urging everyone to consider donating to Lifeblood to meet the constant demand of hospitals.

He says blood is essential for trauma victims, cancer patients, surgical patients, and pregnant women.

“Regular fresh supplies are needed to help save lives. It’s as simple as that.” Mr Cook says.

“It does not take long and you could be saving a life.”

Students talk about whether they have donated blood. Video: Elena Morabito.

Categories: General, Health

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