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Council helps drive much-needed blood and plasma donations

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Australian Red Cross Lifeblood manager Brian Bruce admits a lift in blood and plasma donations is urgently needed in Newcastle.

With the recent COVID-19 enforced lockdown causing a massive shortfall, Novocastrians are now encouraged to come forward and roll up their sleeves as restrictions ease across the city.

And, one of the first organisations to answer the call was City of Newcastle.

“Newcastle is in particular need of O-negative [blood and plasma] donations with supply at a 10-year low due to the pandemic,” Mr Bruce said. 

“Collectively, lifeblood teams in Newcastle have helped save 17,800 lives so far in 2021.

“More than a third of our blood supply locally comes from groups donating together from business, sporting and community organisations.

“Thank you to City of Newcastle’s lifeblood team for setting a great example by helping us to raise awareness.

“They’re getting the message out to the community to come and donate blood – and feeling great knowing they are saving lives.” 

City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said staff and councillors jumped at the chance to lend an arm, and volunteer their time, to increase donations. 

“At least 2,300 are needed each month just in Newcastle to meet the current demand to assist cancer patients and to get people through other serious health challenges in their lives,” he stated.

“City of Newcastle considers the situation to be so serious that we are encouraging our staff, several times each year, to travel to the Australian Red Cross at Broadmeadow during work time to donate blood. 

“This year, our lifeblood team has made 137 donations, meaning 411 lives have been saved.

“But, unfortunately, this number is lower than previous years due to COVID-19 restrictions.”

City of Newcastle senior project officer Tania Antony, who co-ordinates council’s lifeblood team, said her personal journey drove her to encourage others to donate blood. 

“For me, my brother suffered from aplastic anaemia,” she explained.

“On two occasions in his life, he needed three platelet transfusions and one whole blood transfusion each week, just to survive until transplant time.

“He literally came alive after each transfusion.

“I am so appreciative of those strangers who gave their blood to save my brother’s life.

“Before that, I was just a casual donor.

“Now I do whatever I can to drive donations.  

“I encourage more organisations and businesses to band their employees together to form a lifeblood team.” 

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