Tireless donor a role model

Margaret Balls, who has donated blood at every opportunity, will soon hit her 300th donation.
Margaret Balls, who has donated blood at every opportunity, will soon hit her 300th donation.

The 70-year-old has donated blood as often as she could ever since she was 18.

She said she would follow in her father’s footsteps and donate blood when the mobile blood unit visited the air force camp they were living in, and she has continued ever since.

She said she would donate at mobile blood banks until the Whitfords Donor Centre opened and then it became easier to donate on a regular basis.

She now donates blood plasma every two weeks.

‘I just feel as though it is something that I can do, I call it my volunteer work,’ Ms Balls said.

She said she was fit and well, and knew the plasma was useful so she was quite happy to donate as often as she did.

‘Every fortnight I know where I am going,’ she said.

‘It’s easy to do and doesn’t take any effort at all.

‘I will keep going until they throw me out when I’m 81, which is when I’m told you have to stop.’

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is urging northern suburbs residents to give blood immediately after Anzac Day to prevent a blood shortage.

The call comes after Whitford and Joondalup Blood Donor Centres were identified last week as two of the least-booked donor centres in WA around Anzac Day.

Blood Service spokeswoman Jessica Willet said the organisation was hoping to fill the 250 appointments required between April 26 and April  29.

‘We are concerned that many Australians will take the Friday as a day of leave to enjoy a long weekend, leading to a possible shortage of blood products for cancer patients.

‘One of those products, platelets, only has a shelf-life of five days.’

People can donate at Whitford Donor Centre between 8am and 5.45pm on April 26, 8am and 11am for plasma on April 27 and 10am to 7.45pm on April 29, or at Joondalup Donor Centre between 8am and 11.45pm on April 28 and 8am and 5.45pm on April 29. Call 13 14 95 to make an appointment or visit www.donateblood.|com.au.

AT A GLANCE

> People can donate whole blood four times a year

> People who donate just plasma or platelets can donate every two weeks

> It only takes one hour to donate