REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: Your blood is worth bottling - literally

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HERO: Launceston Blood Donor Centre session leader Abbey Waller with Graeme Goddard, who made his 650th donation on Friday. Photo: Phillip Biggs

HERO: Launceston Blood Donor Centre session leader Abbey Waller with Graeme Goddard, who made his 650th donation on Friday. Photo: Phillip Biggs

I don't want to brag, but I am something of a life saver.

At least according to the text messages that get sent to me by Lifeblood.

According to these text messages, I have saved hundreds of lives and all it takes is sitting in a chair - and drinking a milkshake or eating some cheese and biscuits afterwards.

I'm about to tick off my 60th donation - whole blood and plasma. But that makes me pretty small scale, in the pantheon of Australian donors.

Among the stories that came out last week during National Blood Donor Week, was that of Graham Goddard, Launceston, Tasmania, who has just made his 650th donation.

If you work on the theory that every blood donation saves three lives, that is nearly 2000 people whose lives have been either improved or saved by Graham taking an hour out of his week, maybe twice a month.

"It's a no-brainer if you ask me. It is such an easy thing to do, you just need to show up," he said.

"They will always need blood donations, you can't make it in a machine.

"So for me, it's always been something I wanted to do and I encourage others to do the same."

Within the blood donor circles, it can sometimes seem as though everyone else does it too - even the Big Ram at Goulburn, in NSW's Southern Tablelands, got in on the message - but the number of donors is actually pretty small.

A blood donation is needed every 24 seconds to meet the ongoing blood needs of Australian patients.

If you are a donor, mention it to your other friends. I think this is one of those situations where peer pressure can be a good thing - just by normalising what has the potential to be a scary process.

If you're thinking about donating, and know someone who goes - ask if you can come along next time, just to make it a little less intimidating.

I know at least two people who have started donating regularly, in part, because they came along with me, and others that are considering it because I mention my appointments as a normal part of a my schedule: netball on Monday, pub trivia on Wednesday and donating blood on Saturday morning.

BLOODY LEGEND: Lifeblood Donor Services nursing assistant Jess Tavner with Graeme Johnson for his 250th donation. Photo: Eve Woodhouse

BLOODY LEGEND: Lifeblood Donor Services nursing assistant Jess Tavner with Graeme Johnson for his 250th donation. Photo: Eve Woodhouse

In the words of Tasmanian Graeme Johnson "the needles don't hurt" - and he has 250 visits as evidence.

"You don't hardly feel them," he said.

"You don't even know you're giving it and in 24 hours they reckon you're back to normal with your blood supply."

Book an appointment at donateblood.com.au or by calling 13 14 95.

It's really not that intimidating - and you can get a free milkshake!

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