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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Red Cross needs 10,000 extra blood donors for Christmas

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood is today launching its annual Christmas Blood Blitz to prevent a blood shortage over the festive season and boost supplies for patients in need.

An extra 830 donations a day are needed across the country between December 22 and January 2 to meet hospital demand for patients.

Cancer patients, trauma victims, and newborn babies and new mums are just a few of those who will rely on blood donations in the next fortnight, with one blood component, platelets, particularly critical as it only lasts for seven days.

Lifeblood Executive Director of Donor Experience, Cath Stone said it was vital the community worked together to prevent a drop-off in donations this Christmas.

“We’re urging people to make donating blood or plasma a priority this Christmas and New Year period,” she said.

“This is always a challenging time of year for blood supplies because the need for blood is ongoing, but many existing donors are travelling or people’s routines are generally disrupted so blood donation isn’t front of mind.”

She said it had been a year of unprecedented demand across the country, with 80 per cent of blood products being delivered to major city hospitals where most of the country’s most critical patients receive urgent care.

“We’ve seen demand increase by more than four per cent in our major cities, and to help us continue to meet that demand, and make it easier for people to donate this holiday season, we’ve extended donor centre opening hours across the country, with many centres open on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

“Trying to find the perfect gift within a budget will be stressful for many this festive season. Giving blood and plasma doesn’t cost anything, but for a patient it will be life-changing. For some, it might mean spending another Christmas with family and friends. For others, it will be the key to a fuller life.”

To add to the festivities and thank donors for giving the gift of life, everyone who donates in December will receive a limited-edition “Australiana” Christmas-inspired bandage, designed by Melbourne-based artist Madeleine Stamer.

To check opening hours and give the gift of life, call 13 14 95, visit lifeblood.com.au or download the Donate Blood app.

Breakdown of TOTAL extra donors needed between December 22-January 2:

NATIONAL: 10,000                                                                                                  

NSW: 2,900      VIC: 3,450

QLD: 1,300       WA: 1,000 

SA: 750             TAS: 300

ACT: 300           NT: 20

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