Listen: Jemma from the Red Cross chats about the urgent need for blood donations this time of year.
When Hope 103.2 chatted to the Red Cross Blood Service about the urgent need for blood donations at Christmas, Duncan made sure he asked the most important question: “How any of those milkshakes are you allowed to have before you are asked to leave?”
Duncan was, of course, referring to the cookie-and-milkshake snack that donors receive at the end of their blood donation session. He was delighted with the answer that spokesperson Jemma Falkenmire gave.
“It’s pretty nice saving lives with your feet in the air, watching the tellie and drinking your milkshake.”
“The Red Cross Ladies are incredibly lovely and will make as many milkshakes as you like,” she said. “And you can actually drink one while you’re giving blood. It’s pretty nice saving lives with your feet in the air, watching the tellie and drinking your milkshake.”
The Red Cross has launched its holiday ‘Blood Blitz’, and are calling on anyone who has a free moment before Christmas or in the lull between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve, to consider giving blood. Around 1000 donations are needed across NSW, and 5000 across Australia, between Christmas and New Year.
“Unfortunately for us at this time of year everybody is really winding down and getting ready to leave work, but the hospitals are quite busy,” Jemma said. “We really do need a bit of extra help.”
Cancer Patients, Mums and Newborn Bubs All Need Blood
Blood donations are needed for road accident and trauma cases, which increase during the holiday season, as well as many other people requiring transfusions—including new mums and babies, people with immune deficiencies, haemophiliacs and cancer patients.
“Cancer patients are the biggest users of donated blood and rely on platelets to make it through chemotherapy,” Jemma explained.
“A lot of people don’t realise blood has a really short shelf-life, it actually only lasts around four to five days, and it actually takes us a couple of days to test it. So with long weekends and public holidays we really run into trouble with making sure we’ve got enough of those platelets.”
“The other factor is that doctors like to give people their transfusions early just before Christmas to make sure they’re actually home for Christmas. So we do see a spike in demand.”
“And a lot of our regular donors are on holidays which doesn’t help.”
Jemma said that while Australians spend billions of dollars on Christmas gifts, one of the greatest gifts of all is saving lives—which you can do for free by donating blood.
Donors need to be feeling fit and healthy to give blood. If you’ve had a tattoo recently, ensure you wait until at least four months after the tattoo before giving blood.
To help out, call 13 14 95 or visit www.donateblood.com.au to make an appointment.