COMMUNITY life-savers Anthony Foster and Evan Duggan say they give simply because they can.
Each clocked up their 375th blood donation milestone on Friday morning, right amid a time when the Australian Red Cross Blood Service needs it most.
Ballarat is in need of 230 donations in the next fortnight when traditionally donations take a dip with the holidays. This mirrors a nationwide trend of people cancelling, postponing or no-shows.
Mr Foster, who first gave blood 40 years ago, urged anyone considering giving blood, or wanting to make a positive difference these holidays, to just give it a go.
“There was no specific event or reason why I started. I was able to give blood so I went along,” Mr Foster said.
Most people keep coming back and giving because they can. I’m not unique.
“Often I’ve been seated next to someone giving for the first time. It’s good to talk about it with them. There’s a good crew in here, they take care of you.”
Mr Foster has swapped to giving plasma the past decade, which allows him to donate once a fortnight. He said if he did not take holidays next year, he would reach his 400-donation milestone – and quipped the blood bank nurses had nicely asked him not to holiday next year.
Similarly, Mr Duggan now gives plasma after years of donating whole blood, starting when he was at university in Melbourne in the mid-70s. Mr Duggan stopped for a lengthy period when he first moved to Ballarat and plasma donations were not available but found it was easy to start up again.
The Blood Service collects almost 25,000 blood donations each week in Australia and when this slows it impacts on supply for patients in an emergency.
It is estimated that one in three Australians will need blood in their lifetime, but only one in 30 people donate blood.
Ballarat Blood Bank spokesperson Colin Littlejohn suggested people make the most of the relaxing, air conditioned environment to donate in Ballarat this summer.
Drop-ins are welcome, but appointments are recommended to avoid a wait. To give blood, call 13 14 95 or visit donateblood.com.au.
The Ballarat service is open six days a week, and will be closed on New Year’s Day.
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