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2009 Year of the Blood Donor


Zoe Satherley
2 March 2009
Donating blood takes only a small amount of your time but it can help so many people - and Southern Cross University staff and students are once again being given an easy opportunity to help save a life with a donation of their blood.

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service with be on the Lismore and Coffs Harbour campuses on Tuesday, March 3 and Friday, March 27 respectively, taking blood donations.

More than 100,000 new blood donors are urgently needed with demand for blood supplies escalating due to the recent devastating Victorian bushfires.

The Federal Health Minister, Nicola Roxon MP, formally announced 2009 the Year of the Blood Donor, in Melbourne on Wednesday, February 25.

An anticipated doubling of demand for blood and blood products within 10 years has led the blood service to launch a nationwide recruitment drive in 2009 Year of the Blood Donor.

The blood service is appealing for more than 100,000 new blood donors this year; this number is in addition to the 40,000 people who registered across Australia to give blood in the week after the Victorian bushfires.

The Federal Department of Health and Ageing has contributed $2 million to assist the blood service to raise awareness and recruit more donors during 2009 – which also marks 80 years of Red Cross blood services in Australia.

One in three Australians will need blood products in their lifetime but only one in 30 Australians give blood. Just three percent of Australians donate each year, a mere 514,000 people.

Australian Red Cross Blood Service CEO, Dr Robert Hetzel said: “The demand for blood will grow by more than 100 percent over the next 10 years as our population ages and new treatments requiring blood, plasma and platelets are developed.

“Last year, over 21,000 life-saving blood donations were needed each week across Australia.

“The blood and blood products donated are used in the treatment of cancer, heart, stomach and bowel disease, accident and trauma, and to address complications in pregnancy and for babies.

“But while demand is increasing, the people who currently donate are ageing. Younger Australians, aged between 20-40 years, are either not signing up or donating less regularly.

“Blood supplies reached dangerously low levels three times in 2008. We don’t want that to happen again.”

2009 Year of the Blood Donor will acknowledge the life-saving role of our blood donors and encourage non-donors to find out their blood type and roll up their sleeves to give blood. A travelling exhibition will tour the country providing blood-type tests and highlighting the special relationship between blood donors and recipients.

“There is no substitute for blood and we need blood of every type, every day to save the lives of thousands of Australians,” said Leanne Latham, the donor centre manager in Lismore.

“We all believe that blood will be there if we need it, but right now the health of the population is riding on a very small percentage of people.

“The Australian Red Cross Blood Service conducted four mobile collections at Southern Cross University in 2008, with a fantastic response from both staff and students.

“The ongoing support of youth is vital to maintaining Australia’s blood supply into the future."

Upcoming mobile blood collections at Southern Cross University are:

Lismore Campus
Tuesday, March 3
P Block, Dept of Exercise Science & Sport Mgmt, Room 134
9:30am – 3pm

Coffs Harbour Campus
Friday 27 March (room and time to be advised).

Almost anyone aged 16-70 can give blood.

To check your eligibility to donate or to make an appointment call 13 14 95 or Lismore blood bank 6620 2320, or Coffs Harbour blood bank on 6650 9644.