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Red Cross desperate for blood donations

LIFE SAVER: Regular donor Sharon Neumann uses the Red Cross's easy online service to book an appointment.
LIFE SAVER: Regular donor Sharon Neumann uses the Red Cross's easy online service to book an appointment. Francis Witsenhuysen

DID YOU know that donating blood four times a year can save up to 12 lives?

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is urging a further 1,000 people with O-Negative blood to donate now as its reserves recently slipped to just one day.

The appeal to Australia's O-negative blood donors has had an overwhelming response, with 2,000 of the required 3,000 appointments filled since Monday, however the Service's Jennifer Campbell said they were not out of the woods yet.

"We are seeing our levels of O-negative blood start to recover thanks to the generosity of Australian blood donors,” she said.

"But we still need another 1,000 O-negative donors across the country over the coming week in order to secure our supply of O-negative blood.

"In Queensland, that means we still need more than 250 O-negative donors to come forward before Friday, September 15.”

A longer cold and flu season has impacted the number of regular donors who are available to give O-Negative reserves.

Spokesman Shaun Inguanzo said maintaining blood supplies during cold and flu season was a challenge for the Blood Service.

"Donors who are affected by cold and flu symptoms are able to give blood at least seven days after making a full recovery,” he said.

"The need for O-Negative is high because it's the universal type given to patients in emergency.”

Gatton's Sharon Neumann has been a blood donor since 1992 and has given blood more than 45 times. She urged people who are fit and able to donate as soon as possible. 

"This shortage is urgent, please if you can, roll up your sleeves,” she said.

"These are very sick people that need the blood - without donations - they wouldn't have the same quality of life or they wouldn't be here.”

Ms Neumann said making a blood donation takes about an hour, although the actual procedure only takes between 10-15 minutes.

"If you are over the age of 16; under 70, you haven't had a tattoo in the last four months, you are not pregnant or had a baby, you haven't got a heart condition, If you aren't sick, you haven't been overseas in the last four months and you weigh over 50 kilograms you are able to give blood,” she said.

"That leaves a lot of people who can, so if that's you please make an appointment now.”  

Please contact 131 495 or visit www.donateblood. com.au to make an appointment to give blood at either the mobile donor centre in Gatton or at the Ipswich or Toowoomba Red Cross donor centres. 

An Australian Red Cross mobile blood donor van visits Gatton every 12 weeks, and it's next visit will be on Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 October (Monday 9am - 2pm and Tuesday 1pm - 6pm).

Topics:  appeal blood donations; blood service gatton o negative shortage red cross blood service save lives


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