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Thousands of blood donations are currently needed. Here's why it's so important.

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood is calling on Aussies, especially those with O+, O-, A+ and A- blood types, to roll up their sleeves and give blood.

The head of Lifeblood’s donor centre network, Cath Stone, said this year's holiday season had been like no other. When it comes to recent blood donor appointments, many have been unable to attend.

Appointment 'no shows' have reached a record high with one in two not attending.

So for those who are able to roll up their sleeves and donate, Lifeblood is asking for your help. 

Watch: Mamamia's blood donation day. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

"Donor numbers have plummeted due to a perfect storm of people waiting on COVID-19 test results or quarantining, many being away with the reopening of borders, and donors wanting to spend more time with family and friends," Stone said in a statement. 

"More than half of all appointments are not being attended, which means we need more donors to roll up their sleeves and take the place of those who can't donate."

So even though consistent blood donation numbers are crucial throughout the year, it's of particular importance right now. Lifeblood are calling on those with O and A blood types to donate blood, given these two groups make up approximately 90 per cent of patients in hospital. 

"With one in three of us needing donated blood in our lifetime, the life you save could be that of a friend or family member," Stone noted.

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The reasons for someone potentially needing a transfusion are wide-ranging: from cancer treatment, car accidents and haemorrhaging, to after major surgery, rare diseases or blood conditions.  

Blood Service spokesperson Helen Walsh said with 13,000 Australians diagnosed with blood cancers each year, many will rely on donations over the summer holiday period.

"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," Walsh said.

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 of platelets each month.

Platelets only have a shelf-life of five days, meaning a constant supply is needed.

To further highlight the life-saving impact of blood transfusions, 12 women spoke with Mamamia about their experience and gratitude towards those who have donated blood and/or platelets. 

Listen to No Filter: An extraordinary tale of tragedy and beauty. Post continues after audio.


12 women share their personal experience with blood transfusions.  

"I was born with one of the world's rarest blood diseases and have received blood transfusions every four weeks since I was six weeks old. I'm now 41."

"My best friend and I were in a pretty serious car accident five years ago. We both required some blood and I can't express just how grateful I am for it. It's the best gift in the world."

"I had a severe postpartum haemorrhage after the birth of my first daughter. After life-saving surgery, I needed three blood transfusions. I have enormous gratitude for the people whose blood I was given."

Image: Getty.

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"I required a blood transfusion after major surgery. At the time I was so out of it I barely remember much. But thank goodness it was available."

"My son was born at 27 weeks. He had a pulmonary haemorrhage (acute bleeding from the lung) at only three days old and we were told there was a low chance of him getting through it. Blood transfusions along with other interventions meant he pulled through to the doctor's surprise and is now a healthy 11-year-old. We now give blood at every chance we can to make sure we pay it forward. It's not always possible to give blood when you have low iron. But most of the time, it's an easy thing to do, and it does change the course of someone's life."

"My beloved nan needed blood transfusions when she was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer at 86 years old. I've donated ever since in her memory."

"I was a regular donor in the UK but since coming to Australia some 15 years ago, I'm not eligible. It makes me deeply unhappy because I would happily donate knowing it saves multiple lives."

"I had two blood transfusions when I experienced a bad haemorrhage after giving birth. So grateful it was available to me. My mum also has had blood transfusions for really low iron. She's even donated bone marrow twice: it's such an amazingly selfless thing to do."

"I'm a regular donor and am part of an amazing group: Davo's Bloody Donors. I'd thoroughly recommend people check it out. My friend started it after her dad, Davo, passed away."

Image: Getty.

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"My daughter has a blood condition that requires regular blood transfusions. She is about to have surgery as a complication of this condition and will require bloods during her hospital stay. When she was born and required blood transfusions, a friend got his office to go and donate blood at the blood bank as a gift to our family. I've never forgotten it. I also required blood after losing a lot during childbirth. So I know from personal experience the importance of blood donations."

"When my husband was having chemo for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma he received more than 20 blood and platelet transfusions. I never knew cancer patients needed blood until we were in the thick of it and he was incredibly unwell. He would be so weak and sick then he would have the transfusion and come to life again. Blood donors are lifesavers!"

"I had a severe haemorrhage after my second baby and required around 15 litres of blood which literally saved my life. I am forever grateful to every donor that helped me be here to see my family grow up."

To donate call 13 14 95, visit lifeblood.com.au or download their free, Donate Blood app.

Feature Image: Getty.

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