Call for blood donations this Christmas

Stock image.
Stock image.

AUSTRALIANS are being urged to give blood this Christmas, with supplies at risk of running critically low.

The news came as Perth’s newly-refurbished blood processing centre re-opened – in the nick of time to process and supply critical blood donations for cancer patients this Christmas.

The Perth Processing Centre has had a $43.5 million upgrade to ensure it has the capacity and state-of-the-art technology required to safely test, process and supply blood components to Western Australian hospitals both now and well into the future.

But of more immediate concern is a shortage over the Christmas period.

With many regular blood donors taking a break over the festive season, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service is in desperate need of 4,000 donors.

At particular risk are supplies of platelets – the clotting component of blood that is largely relied on by cancer patients to prevent internal bleeding.

Platelets only have a shelf life of five days, so a constant flow of donors is required, even during holiday times.

“The period between Christmas and the New Year is when platelet stocks are most at risk,” warned Blood Service spokeswoman Jemma Falkenmire.

“Cancer patients are the biggest users of donated blood in Australia; it’s critical to helping them through chemotherapy,” Ms Falkenmire said.

“With one in three of us needing donated blood in our lifetime, the life you help save this festive season could even be that of a loved one.”

People are being urged to make an appointment to give blood between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.

To learn more about becoming a donor this Christmas and New Year visit donateblood.com.au or call 13 14 95.