Although many celebrate Easter by going away for the long weekend, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood are urging people to consider also donating blood.
Lifeblood is hoping to encourage more people to become donors between Good Friday and Easter Monday, to ensure an ongoing supply of blood and plasma for patients who will need it during the long weekend.
Lifeblood Executive Director Cath Stone said that despite record numbers of people donating blood and plasma, demand from hospitals is at its highest level in nearly a decade – particularly for the rarest blood type, O Negative.
“We now have more donors than at any point in the past 10 years, however demand for all blood groups, especially O Negative continues to increase as hospitals catch up on surgeries post-pandemic,” she said.
Stone explained donors of all blood types were needed every day of the year, but that the blood groups being called for today make up about 90 per cent of the Australian population.
“Right now, we need 3,600 people to donate blood over the next week,” she said.
“In particular, O Negative has the universal blood type and is used to treat patients when their blood type is unknown. It’s often stocked in ambulances and rescue helicopters to be used for trauma patients who can require huge quantities in a short amount of time.
“Fewer than seven per cent of the Australian population is O Negative, making it one of the rarer blood types, however its versatility means it makes up 16 per cent of the blood ordered by hospitals.”
Stone said Lifeblood is asking people to book a donation now for the Easter period, which is often one of the most challenging times of the year for Lifeblood.
“The need for blood is often unplanned and urgent and Easter is often a time when many of our donors take a break,” she said.
And many centres will be open on Good Friday to ensure as many people as possible can donate.
“This year, more than 40 of our donor centres around the country will be open on Good Friday so we are asking people to book in and come back for another donation when they are next eligible, to ensure we can keep hospital fridges well stocked,” she said.
“With one in three of us needing donated blood or blood products in our lifetime, the life you save could be that of friend or family member.”
To book visit www.lifeblood.com.au, download the Donate Blood app or call 13 14 95.
Ellie Busby is a news reporter for Western Sydney Publishing Group. A graduate of the University of Hertfordshire and Western Sydney University, she is a journalism Major. Ellie has worked with Universal Media, The Cova Project and for a range of other projects.