WHEN two students from West Balcatta Primary School were diagnosed with leukaemia, teacher Lee Tanner wanted to do something to help.
“They were diagnosed in the second half of this year, within a matter of months of each other,” the Edgewater resident said.
“It hit the school pretty hard. Everyone wants to know how they can help, everyone feels at a loss.”
Ms Tanner said she wanted to find a practical way to help so she contacted the Red Cross Blood Service about creating an online group of blood donors.
As a regular blood donor, Ms Tanner is continuing to donate plasma every two weeks, but she has recruited seven fellow West Balcatta teachers to donate whole blood every three months.
The school is also encouraging parents to get involved.
“It takes such a short time to donate, it’s painless and you walk away feeling like you’ve helped somehow,” Ms Tanner said.
During the Christmas and New Year period, the Edgewater Blood Donor Centre needs an extra 250 people to roll up their sleeves.
With many people on holidays over the festive season, numbers on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are particularly low.
The blood service has launched a Blood Blitz to help fill appointments between December 21 and January 3.
“Cancer patients are the biggest users of donated blood and rely on platelets to make it through chemotherapy,” spokeswoman Jessica Willet said.
“The problem is platelets cannot be stock-piled, so we need a constant fresh supply.” To donate, go to www.donateblood.com.au or call 13 14 95.
Edgewater Donor Centre opening hours
December 24: 7am-noon
December 25-26: closed
December 27: 8am-noon
December 28: 8.15am-noon
December 29: 7.15am-6.45pm
December 30: 11.30am-7pm
December 31: 7am-11am
January 1-2: closed
Janaury 3: 8am-noon