News

You can save lives

By Ashlea Witoslawski

In the past year, Australians rolled up their sleeves and donated blood more than one million times, but new donors are always needed.

As winter hits, the pressure on Australia’s blood supply increases as colds and the flu take hold of many regular donors, preventing them from donating.

One in three Australians will need blood or blood products in their life, with more than 25000 donations needed every week.

Donors most commonly give whole blood, however donations of plasma and platelets are also essential.

The Goulburn Valley region includes a donation centre in Shepparton and a mobile centre that visits Echuca, Benalla and Seymour.

In the past year, 8421 donations have been made in the local area, with about 110 whole blood donations and another 100 plasma donations needed every single week.

Australian Red Cross Blood Service Victoria/Tasmania regional communication manager Jennifer Campbell Case said the need for blood did not take a break.

‘‘The blood service needs 4000 new donors nation-wide over the coming fortnight,’’ she said.

‘‘This means we need 25 new donors from Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley to roll up their sleeves for the first time by the end of next week.’’

According to the service, blood is versatile and can be made into 22 different medical treatments, of which one third (34 per cent) is used in the treatment of cancer and blood diseases.

To make an appointment or learn more, visit www.donateblood.com.au or phone 131495.

The News visited the Australian Red Cross Blood Service centre at Unit 3, 210-216, Corio St, Shepparton to learn more from active donors:

Kodie Hall, Mooroopna

Blood type: O+

The 20-year-old was visiting the centre for the second time, donating blood on her day off.

‘‘I enjoy helping out when I can because it takes such little time, but could mean so much to others,’’ she said.

‘‘I was nervous the first time but it’s so simple.

‘‘I’d encourage others to come down.’’

Jill Richardson, Shepparton

Blood type: A+

Ms Richardson was donating plasma after starting with blood 18 months ago.

She visits on her lunch breaks.

‘‘I used to always think I should go and do that (donate blood) because you’ll never know when you’ll need it,’’ she said.

‘‘So one day I just did it and it’s been really positive.

‘‘A colleague recently needed a blood transfusion with the same blood type and even though it probably wouldn’t have been mine, it was great thinking that I’m helping to assist in some way.’’

Janitha Sooriarachchi, Numurkah

Blood type: O+

This was the second donation for the university student, 20. Mr Sooriarachchi was donating plasma and said the experience was really easy.

‘‘It was something I wanted to do for a while and one day I just decided to go for it,’’ he said.

‘‘You feel like you’re doing a good service and there is plenty of need for it, so there is nothing stopping you.’’

Geoff Goodman, Benalla

Blood Type: O+

Mr Goodman’s wife is a nurse and raised the importance of blood donation years ago.

He has been donating on and off for years, but has been donating regularly for the past three.

Mr Goodman realised how important his donations were when his father-in-law needed a blood transfusion that took five units of blood — one more than the amount one person can donate in a year.

‘‘I work for VicRoads and have seen the viable use of blood and how important it is,’’ he said.

‘‘I tell everyone to donate because I’m not sure where we would be without it.

‘‘It doesn’t hurt, I come along during my work day.’’

People can give blood if they:

●Feel fit and healthy;

●Are aged between 18 and 70;

●Weigh more than 50kg.

You may be temporarily unable to give blood if you:

●Are on certain medications or antibiotics;

●Have a cold or are feeling unwell in any way;

●Have certain medical conditions;

●Changed medications;

●Recently had surgery;

●Have had recent dental treatment;

●Recently travelled;

●Had a piercing.