Imagine your father has just sufered a heart attack and must undergo
open-heart surgery in order to repair the damage. He will need blood
during the operation. Imagine your little nephew or niece is born with a
heart defect and requires daily transfusions of blood in order to have a
chance at survival. Imagine your best friend is diagnosed with leukemia
and, as their own blood is diseased, need fresh blood transfusions to just
stay alive for now.
hese are not very nice images, but all these scenarios are very real for
some people. hey do happen. !nfortunately some of you may even
have e"perienced them already. #aturally you$d hope and e"pect the
hospital to have enough resources to aid your loved ones return to health,
or to prolong their lives. However how does the hospital get this
important resource% he blood that all these patients need. he blood
your family member or friend might need%
his is where the generosity of others comes into the equation. It is the
donation of blood, usually at a blood bank, by healthy individuals,
complete strangers that provides the important variety of blood products.
his is where you can do your part to help.
ransfusions of red blood cells, platelets and plasma are critical to a
patient$s return to good health, and are vital in helping save someone$s
life in an emergency situation. &ome individuals requiring blood are
surgical patients, burn victims, accident victims, hemophiliacs, seriously ill
babies and persons sufering from leukemia, cancer, kidney disease and
liver disease.
It is estimated that with every three seconds a patient needs blood and
that$s a lot of blood' &ometimes the blood can be pre-donated by the
patients themselves. However, most of the blood needs to come from
healthy volunteer donors. (et only one person out of every thirty actually
donates blood. his is a very small percent of the eligible population that
donates blood every year.
)s blood can$t be made or harvested, there is no substitute. he blood
supply here in )ustralia is continuously low and the demand for blood
increases each year. )t a much faster rate than the rate at which people
are donating blood and as a result the supply of red blood cells, the most
used blood component, barely serves the growing demand.
)nother problem is that donations containing red blood cells must be used
within a *+-day time period, from the time of donation, or the blood
becomes unusable. his is another reason why continual donations of
blood are necessary for the continued e"istence of our countries blood
supply, and, the survival of millions of people who depend on blood banks
to provide life-saving donations.
It is estimated that around ,-. us will require blood or blood products
during their lifetime. /y donating blood to insure there is enough in
supply, the life we save may be our own. 0ust one blood donation could
save up to three lives.
I$m hoping most of you by now are considering giving blood, but are
wondering what it entails. 1ell giving blood is incredibly simple, as well as
immensely helpful. )nyone who is 2t, healthy and not sufering from a
cold, 3u or other illness at the time of donation, is aged between 45 -6-
years old and weighs more that *, kilograms can donate. 7en can donate
up to 2ve times a year and women up to two times a year, with a gap of
two months between donations.
1hen you 2rst arrive to donate you complete a detailed health history
questionnaire. ) nurse will go through the questionnaire with you and
answer any questions you may have. he nurse will also require you to
sign a document declaring that you indeed meet all medical standards.
his declaration is designed to ensure the protection of both you, the
donors, and the recipients of your blood. he ne"t step is a brief physical
e"amination where the nurse checks your blood pressure, weight and
hemoglobin levels. )ll ensuring that the donation process goes smoothly.
8rom the time you arrive until the time you leave, is only about an hour
and the donation itself is only about ten minutes. (ou will be asked by the
nurses to sit back and rela" on a comfy sofa chair, while the blood bank or
mobile service nurse uses a sterile disposable needle to collect your blood
in a blood bag, which ensures there is no chance of getting an infection.
he procedure is not painful, with less than 4 pint taken during a donation.
he body replaces the lost 3uid content naturally within +* hours and the
red blood cells lost are replaced within ten days.
9nce you have donated, the nurses will encourage you to sit back and
rela", while partaking in some light refreshments. his will speed up your
recovery. )lthough, some feeling of tiredness will occur for around 4- +
hours after donation, the donation itself won$t prevent you from going to
school the ne"t day. (ou will remember the e"perience as a rewarding
one. &o as you can see, it$s safe, simple and most importantly it can save
someone$s life.

I$m sure that most of the time we all e"pect blood to be there for us
whenever we need it, at our beck and call, but barely a fraction of those
who are able to give, actually do and this has a major impact on blood
distribution. (et sooner or later, virtually all of us will face a time of great
vulnerability in which we will need blood.
Imagine how simple things would be if every one gave blood, done on a
fairly regular basis, like going to the cinema. 1hat kind of diference
would that make to you% :ery little, I should imagine' /ut for nearly ,
million people who receive blood transfusions every year, it could be the
diference between life and death.
&o please, I appeal to you, donate blood, save lives'

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