Blood donation crucial in the lead up to Christmas and New Year's

29 NOVEMBER 2016

Roads and Maritime Services Executive Director Angus Mitchell today urged everyone able to donate blood to make an appointment with the Red Cross and help out in the lead up to the holiday break.

Mr Mitchell said the need for blood never takes a break and donated blood will be needed every day in the lead up to Christmas and the New Year to help treat injured, sick and seriously ill Australians.

“At Roads and Maritime Services we know very well that thousands of holiday makers hit the road during the holiday break and may not be able to give blood,” he said.

“We have also seen firsthand the need for blood donations in emergency situations across the road network.

“That’s why this year staff have saved 500 lives by donating blood as part of the Australian Red Cross’ Red25 campaign.

“We encourage every able Australian to give blood and prevent a critical shortage during the holidays.” 

Enforcement Operations Inspector Eddy Maher knows firsthand the trauma of road incidents.

“As part of the heavy vehicle inspection team I have been to my share of fatal crashes and you realise how important donating blood is,” Mr Maher said.

“I started donating blood around 2009 after I was involved in a really bad motor cross accident in 2004.

“Whilst racing I crashed and that resulted in a brain haemorrhage, which I hospitalised me for three and a half months. Without blood donations and services such as the Westpac lifesaver rescue helicopter I would not be here today.

“Now I donate as much as possible as I have O Negative blood type which can be used to treat people with all blood types.”

Bernard Carlon, Executive Director for the Centre for Road Safety said supporting the Red Cross was all the more important during the busy holiday season.

“We know that people are out and about more on our roads and travelling long distances during the busy holiday season. Reducing your speed, not driving when you’re tired and having a Plan B if you’re drinking are all simple ways you can reduce your risk on the road during the holiday season.

“More than 300 lives have been lost on NSW roads this year and almost 12,000 people have been admitted to hospital, affecting hundreds of families, which is why we are striving to reduce the road toll Towards Zero.

“If you’re healthy and able to donate blood, it’s a simple way that you can help save a life and become part of the Towards Zero team in your community and reduce the tragic loss of life and serious injuries on our roads.”

Blood Service spokesperson Jemma Falkenmire appealed for holidaymakers to save lives, not risk them, this December.

“Every year, the festive season is marked by two sad stories: the number of tragedies that occur on our roads and a drop in blood supplies as people take holidays,” she said.

“It is particularly critical that people book an appointment over weekends and long-weekends as stocks of platelets, which trauma patients rely on for treatment, always plummet, as they only have a shelf life of five days.

“People can donate at one of our many Donor Centres or Donor Mobiles located close to where they may be holidaying.

“We would prefer that this December is marked by the number of lives saved. That is why in addition to urging drivers to take care, we are encouraging people to give blood.”


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