With just one blood donation viable to save up to three lives, there is no greater time to donate than now. Only 1 in 30 Australians give blood each year, which is a worrying statistic when considering the current demand for life-saving blood transfusions. People of all walks of life are in need of blood products whether it be cancer, a difficult pregnancy, medical condition or serious accident.
Giving blood 175 times is 87-year-old John Harrison, who as a result of donating has saved more than 525 Australian lives.
“I started giving blood because my wife Beryl had mitral valve heart problems and needed blood transfusions. Knowing that the wife had to have blood most times after big operations I thought it was one way of giving back to others in need of it as well. I started when I was in my 30’s but then once I was over the age of 70 I had to get special permission from my doctor to allow me to donate.”
Now in his late 80’s Harrison can no longer donate blood but has received multiple awards for his service and continues to support The Heart Foundation through ticket raffles. Harrison’s acts of kindness leave a remarkable legacy, urging other Australians to get behind the worthy cause.
“Oh yes as much as we could we should donate! People from all workplaces, walks of life; the lot. Lots of organisations are trying to spread the word and people should follow suit.”
In society there are several misconceptions about the need for blood donations. A recent survey conducted by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service found that 80 per cent of responders either did not know or underestimated the number of blood donations Australian patients need per year.
“Blood is a precious and finite resource, and blood donations don’t last forever. In fact, the red cell component of a donation only lasts 42 days. Australians are overestimating how many people donate blood and underestimating how much blood is actually needed,” said Blood Service spokesperson Jennifer Campbell Case.
The need for this life-saving gift is constant so it remains crucial that we continue to converse with our family and friends about the importance of blood donations. In the end the satisfaction of knowing you have saved the lives of three people is more than enough of a reason to consider donating blood.
To check if you are eligible to give blood or for further information please visit donateblood.com.au.