ROCKINGHAM Red Cross Service needs 75 blood donations over the Christmas-New Year period to prevent a shortage of blood products vital to the treatment of cancer patients.
Rockingham donors are among the millions of Australians taking holidays, leading to a worrying drop in donor numbers in the days immediately 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.
Spokeswoman Jessica Willet said the Blood Service launched its national Christmas and New Year blood blitz to help fill empty appointments at the Rockingham Blood Donor Centre between December 21 and 31.
“Thousands of Australians will need blood this Christmas and New Year just to have the hope of spending those moments with friends and family,” she said.
“Cancer patients are the biggest users of donated blood and rely on platelets to make it through chemotherapy.
“The problem is platelets cannot be stock piled, so we need a constant, fresh supply.
“In particular, we need more people to donate on New Year’s Eve, when we currently only have five people booked in to donate.”
With one in three Australians needing blood or blood products in their lifetime, Ms Willet said thousands more could also need blood during this critical period without yet realising it.
“If a friend or family member needed blood this festive season you would expect blood to just be there,” she said.
“It will only be there if others have made the generous decision to donate at these critical times.”
To donate at Rockingham between December 21 and 31 visit donateblood.|com.au or call 13 14 95.