World Blood Donor Day: saving lives one donation at a time

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

The 14th of June marks World Blood Donor Day. It is a day that celebrates the amazing, life-saving contributions donors make. It also hopes to encourage those who haven’t donated before to give blood and make the world a healthier place.

In Australia, around half a million people donate yearly. This is a fantastic effort but as 29,000 donations are needed each week, more of us must start giving blood regularly.

Today, it is more important than ever to start donating blood. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a drop in the number of donors. However, donor centres have assured that every safety procedure and precaution is being followed to ensure the safety of every participant.

EPIC employee Ryan has been donating blood for 20 years. During this time, he has made 164 donations – an incredible undertaking. Ryan was first inspired by his father who regularly donated when he was young.

“I started by donating whole blood, which you can do every 3 months. After a while, I was asked if I wanted to try donating plasma or platelets. For several years I alternated each fortnight between plasma and platelet donations. Now I just do platelet donations every fortnight,” explains Ryan.

The three different types of donations that you can make—whole blood, plasma and platelets—are all very important. Giving the “right” type of blood donation, based on your blood type, helps ensure the best use of your valuable contribution.

Whole blood is frequently given to trauma patients and people undergoing surgery. Platelets are a vital element of cancer treatments and organ transplant procedures, as well as other surgical procedures. Plasma is used in emergency and trauma situations to help stop bleeding.

You can donate blood at several Red Cross Lifeblood Donor Centres across Australia. The whole process takes approximately one to two hours.

For first timers, giving blood can seem like a scary and uncomfortable process but Ryan explains that it really isn’t that bad – if you are eligible you should give it a go.

“They make you feel really comfortable and a few days later I get a text from Australian Red Cross Lifeblood advising me that my donation is on its way to give life to someone at a particular hospital – a really good reminder of why donating is so important,” says Ryan.

“People’s biggest fear might be the needle, but the way I look at it is, that tiny sting, which lasts half a second, is nothing compared to what the person who is going to receive your blood is going through.”

For more information about the donation process or where to find your closest donor centre, visit the Red Cross Lifeblood website.

If you’re interested in finding out how else you can support people with disability and health conditions, check out our volunteer program.

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