ALMOST half of all first-time Aussie blood donors give once and do not come back.
But that was not the case for Warwick resident Geoffrey Atkinson, who has just donated for the 370th time.
“I used to be an apprentice on the railways at the Midland workshops,” the 64-year-old said.
“The blood bank used to come out to the workshops every few months and a lot of the guys would line up to donate, so one day I decided to give it a go.”
Mr Atkinson said he donated blood every three months while he finished his apprenticeship and continued working in Midland for a few more years, but then he went away overseas.
“When I came back, I settled down, married and started donating again; whole blood every three months,” he said.
“Then a few years ago I started donating plasma every two weeks.”
Mr Atkinson was recognised for surpassing 350 donations as part of National Blood Donor Week from June 9 to 15.
During this week, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service is calling for people to make donating a regular habit, with data showing of the 91,000 Australians who gave blood for the first time in the past 12 months, 43 per cent did not return.
“Australia needs a new blood donor every five minutes,” spokeswoman Tiffany Gourlay said.
“We need more people like Geoff to make blood or plasma donation a regular, lifesaving habit.
“During National Blood Donor Week we say thank you to all our donors for their generosity.”
Mr Atkinson encouraged others to “definitely do it”.
“You might not be a hero on the sporting field or whatever, but to a lot of people out there you are a hero,” he said.
“It’s not that you do it to be a hero, but you are helping wives and kids and cancer patients.”
To donate, call 13 14 95 or visit donateblood.com.au.