MIDLAND still needs 130 blood donations over the Christmas- New Year period to prevent a shortage of blood products vital to the treatment of cancer patients.
Midland donors are among the millions of Australians taking holidays, leading to a worrying drop in donor numbers in the two weeks before and after Christmas.
Yet the need for blood never stops, with one product vital to cancer treatment – platelets – having a shelf-life of just five days, meaning cancer patients need a constant supply throughout the festive season.
Red Cross spokes-woman Jess Willet said the blood service was launching its national Christmas and New Year ‘Blood Blitz’ to help fill empty appointments at the new Midland Blood Donor Centre between December 21 and January 3.
“Thousands of Australians will need blood this Christmas and New Year just to have the hope of spending those moments with friends and family,” Ms Willett said.
Mundaring Shire President David Lavell has been donating blood since he was 18.
“I started donating blood to help others less fortunate, to hopefully save lives and do more for the community,” Cr Lavell said.
“It is significant to me to reach 250 blood donations. I’ll keep donating as long as I am physically able to so, and hopefully pass the maximum donor age of 81.”
He encouraged more people to roll up their sleeves for the cause.
“Donating blood is for me a bit of time-out from my normal routine, it is a time to reflect and at the same time a chance to read the paper cover to cover.
“Just think of the other people who will need your help over Christmas, and consider coming along to donate blood.”
“Cancer patients are the biggest users of donated blood and rely on platelets to make it through chemotherapy,” Ms Willett said.
“The problem is platelets cannot be stock-piled, so we need a constant, fresh supply.
To donate at Midland between December 21 and January 3 visit donateblood.|com.au or call 13 14 95.