With months of lockdown causing a massive shortfall in blood and plasma donations, City of Newcastle staff and Councillors have volunteered their time (and arms) to help raise awareness of the urgent need to give blood.
City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said staff jumped at the chance to help get the message out to increase donations.
“At least 2,300 donations are needed each month just in Newcastle to meet the current demand to assist cancer patients and to get people through other serious health challenges in their lives,” Mr Bath said.
“City of Newcastle considers the situation to be so serious that we are encouraging our staff, several times each year, to travel to the Australian Red Cross at Broadmeadow during work time to donate blood.
“This year, City of Newcastle’s Lifeblood team have made 137 donations, meaning 411 lives have been saved, but this number is lower than previous years due to COVID-19 restrictions.”
City of Newcastle Senior Project Officer Tania Antony co-ordinates City of Newcastle’s Lifeblood team said her personal journey drives her to encourage others to donate blood.
“For me, my brother suffered from aplastic anaemia. On two occasions in his life, he needed three platelet transfusions and one whole blood transfusion each week, just to survive until transplant time. He literally came alive after each transfusion,” Ms Antony said.
“I am so appreciative of those strangers who gave their blood to save my brother’s life. Before that, I was just a casual donor, now I do whatever I can to drive donations.
“I encourage more organisations and businesses to band their employees together to form a Lifeblood team.”
The Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Manager Brian Bruce said a lift in donations in Newcastle is urgently needed, and the community are encouraged to come forward to donate as restrictions ease across the city.
“Newcastle is in particular need of O negative blood and plasma donations with supply at a ten-year low due to the pandemic,” Mr Bruce said.
“Collectively, Lifeblood teams in Newcastle have helped save 17,800 lives so far in 2021. More than a third of our blood supply locally comes from groups donating together from local business, sporting, and community groups.
“Thank you to City of Newcastle’s Lifeblood team for setting a great example by helping us to raise awareness and get the message out to the community to come and donate blood as restrictions ease and feel great knowing they are saving lives.”