health

Save a life this festive season by donating blood at a time it's needed most.

You’ve probably noticed dwindling numbers in your office this week.

Maybe your neighbours have already left for their beachside summer holiday.

There are more empty seats on the bus, less traffic on the streets.

Yes, the late-December lull has well and truly begun.

And while for many of us it’s a time we all look forward to each year – a time to relax away from work, and catch up with friends and family, there’s one Australian institution that can’t afford a “lull” period.

Why? because lives depend on it.

The Australian Red Cross Service has made an urgent call out for blood supplies at the time between Christmas and New Year, as they fear their stocks will run dangerously low. Stocks crucial for treatments of cancers such as leukaemia or lymphoma.

Check out footage of Mamamia’s Blood Donation Day below. Post continues after video.

The service requires 4,500 donations to bolster supplies, amid fears their regular donors will take a break.

They’re particularly concerned that if their donation requirement is not met, life-giving blood stocks may run to worrying lows between Boxing Day and January 2.

One blood product from donations vital to the treatment of cancer is platelets – which have a shelf-life of just five days, meaning a constant supply is needed.

Blood Service spokesperson Helen Walsh said with 13,000 Australians diagnosed with blood cancers each year, many will be relying on donations over Christmas.

“Information from the Leukaemia Foundation shows on average a patient with blood cancer undergoing eight months of treatment needs around 18 people to donate blood each month,” Helen said.

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She added that platelets, the clotting part of blood, were also relied on to prevent internal bleeding with acute patients, who use up to 36 units each of platelets each month.

“It takes blood donations from four people to make just one bag of platelets for patients, and they only last for five days so we can’t stockpile them ahead of the holidays,” she explained.

“Timing is critical, and the period between Boxing Day and New Year is when platelet stocks are most at risk with blood donors constantly needed to ensure patients get this vital product.”

In an effort to remind Australians that cancer doesn’t take a break, and blood donations are vital year-round, the Red Cross has launched the “Blood Blitz”, where they hope to welcome 10,000 new donors over the coming month and ensure supplies don’t fall.

“(It aims to) urge those who can to make an appointment to donate these holidays.

“We’re hoping to welcome 10,000 new donors over the coming month to meet Australia’s growing blood needs so there’s never been a better time to donate.”

A staggering one in three Australians will need blood or a blood product in their lifetime.

So when you’re spending some downtime with your loved ones this festive season between playing backyard cricket and eating yourself into a food coma, why not suggest a family trip to the donor centre.

Because what better way to bond than over saving someone’s life together?

Visit donateblood.com.au or call 13 14 95 to make an appointment at a centre near you.

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