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Donating Blood

Blood donation is a serious topic that we often don’t talk about enough. It’s an issue close to our hearts here at Teacher PD, especially since our directors’ 3 month old daughter, Poppy Grace was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. We thought this would be a great opportunity to shine a much needed light on the great shortage of blood in Australia at the moment.

Put quite simply, donating blood save lives. Blood donations are used to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries including cancer, burns, anaemia, heart disease and leukaemia. When a blood donation is made, it goes off for processing where it is separated into red blood cells, platelets and plasma, all used for different purposes. One donation can save up to three lives.

Teacher PD Directors, Carly and Tresne Middleton with their baby daughter, Poppy Grace, who was recently diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Blood donations need to be made regularly because, unfortunately, red blood cells only last 42 days after donation and platelets only last 5 days. For this reason, the Red Cross Lifeblood service needs one blood donation every three minutes across Australia to meet the needs of our sick and injured family members and friends.

Unfortunately though, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have made it difficult for the Red Cross to receive enough donations to supply those in need across the country. Many people have cancelled or stopped booking in their blood donation appointments under the assumption that donor centres have closed down. However, Jemma Falkenmire from the Red Cross says that’s not the case.

“Donating blood and plasma remains an essential activity, and travel and venue restrictions do not prevent you from giving blood,” she says.

As a result of cancelled appointments, there is now a shortage of blood in the system. The Red Cross estimates that blood donations across Australia need to double for the rest of the year in order to maintain a healthy supply of blood to those who need it, particularly hospital patients.

“Lockdowns don’t stop the need for blood. There are patients in hospital who need blood and are relying on people to donate,” Ms Falkenmire says.

“We’d especially love to see people with O-positive and O-negative blood types to book their donation soon,” she says.

Coincidentally Poppy’s blood type is O-positive. Poppy’s leukaemia diagnosis means she will need many blood transfusions over the course of her treatment.

“Blood cancer and leukaemia patients are the nation’s largest users of blood, with a third of all blood collected used to treat cancer and blood diseases,” Ms Falkenmire says.

“If you’ve ever donated blood, plasma or platelets, there’s a reasonable chance that your donation went to help a cancer patient,” she says.

This is why we’re taking up the cause, helping the Red Cross find more blood donors. We’re encouraging as many of our eligible teachers as possible to consider donating blood during the school holidays.

The process of donating blood is simple. When you arrive at the donor centre and are deemed eligible to donate blood, you’ll spend around 10 minutes donating 470 millilitres of blood. The process is a little longer if you choose to donate plasma or platelets. Once you complete your donation, you’ll have the chance to relax and grab a snack to finish off the process. Don’t forget to tell the staff that you’d like to donate to Poppy Grace’s Lifeblood group.

So, if you’re looking for something to do these school holidays that allows you to get out and about during lockdown, please consider giving the gift of life and donating blood. Carly and Tresne are so grateful for the blood that you have already donated under Poppy Grace’s Lifeblood group and want to thank you from the bottom of their hearts.

Blood donation bookings can be made on the Lifeblood website or by phoning 13 14 95.

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