‘Blood Blitz’ to prevent Christmas Blood Shortage

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service needs 4,500 blood donations between Christmas and New Year to bolster blood supplies this festive season.

The Blood Service is concerned that without more donors between Boxing Day and 2 January life-giving blood stocks may run low.

The time between Christmas and New Year is when many regular donors take a well-earned break yet the need for blood never stops.

One blood product vital to cancer treatment is platelets, which are made from blood donations and 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 such as leukaemia or lymphoma each year, it’s likely many will still be relying on blood donors this 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.”

She said platelets, the clotting part of blood, were also relied on to prevent internal bleeding with acute patients using 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.

“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.

“We’re launching the Blood Blitz to remind people the need for blood won’t be taking a break this Christmas and 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.”

One in three Australians will need blood or a blood product in their lifetime; the life you save this festive season could be that of a loved one.

Donor centres around the country will be open this festive season, including some centres on Boxing Day.

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

[1] https://www.leukaemia.org.au/disease-information/blood-cancer-resources/facts-and-statistics-about-blood-cancer/

[2] https://www.leukaemia.org.au/get-involved/donate-blood

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