Red Cross thankful for Aussie blood donors

24 Jul

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By Rhiannon Raphael, Bond University journalism student

National Blood Donors Week gives the Red Cross a chance to thank the 600,000 donors who maintain Australia’s blood supply.

The milestone donors who save Australian lives by giving blood regularly are being formally thanked by the Red Cross in a series of recognition ceremonies held across the country from July 14 to 21.

Six hundred thousand donors seems like a lot, but this figure means that only one in 30 Australians regularly donate blood, while one in three Australians will need blood at some point in their lives.

Lee Harley, the Red Cross Community Affairs Officer for the Gold Coast, said that Australia’s blood supply is maintained by a small pool of regular donors.

“They are a small proportion of the population and a really are a special group of people who do such a terrific job in maintaining our blood supply,” she said.

“National Blood Donor Week is our opportunity to say thank you to our donors who give their time and their blood to help other people that they don’t know and that they’ll never meet.”

Last week there was a special focus on thanking milestone donors, including a recognition ceremony for the Gold Coast on Saturday.

“We hold recognition ceremonies for our milestone donors; donors who have reached significant milestones from 50 through to 500 blood donations,” said Ms Harley.

“On the Gold Coast this year we have several 350 milestone donors, which is phenomenal.”

One milestone donor from the Gold Coast is Alan Murphy, who gave his 135th donation last Thursday at the Robina Blood Donor Centre.

Mr Murphy, who started donating whole blood nine years ago before moving on to donating plasma six years ago, said that he started donating because he wanted to help others.

“I don’t have time to go out and do any volunteering work or anything like that,” he said.

“This is a way I can do it without too much time being involved.”

Ms Harley said that wanting to help people and social responsibility are both important reasons why people become regular donors.

“Everyone chooses things that they want to do to contribute to the community,” she said.

“Blood donation is something that doesn’t cost you anything, it only takes a small amount of time out of your day and it’s something that’s quite easy to do.”

“It’s also something that has a really significant impact because you literally are saving people’s lives and giving people a better quality of life.”

Ms Harley said that regular donors often become emotionally invested in donating blood, and there is a sense of community amongst regular donors.

“There are lots of friendships which have been formed through donating blood,” she said.

“It’s such a great thing that they’re doing and it creates a very positive environment to engender those sorts of relationships.”

“People come from every different walk of life and they all happen to be blood donors and I definitely feel a common bond in that.”

To do something special and become a blood donor, or for more information, call 13 14 95 or visit donateblood.com.au

Caption: Milestone donor Alan Murphy giving his 135th blood donation at the Robina Blood Donor Centre

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