ANDREW Hansen has been giving blood since before he knew how to drive.
On Thursday, the Ballarat man, now 58, chalked up his 400th donation, since he first started giving blood in 1980.
It comes as the Ballarat blood donor centre in Redan puts out a plea for more donations over the Australia Day period, with many appointments still available for early next week.
Every time you give blood, it can save three lives, which means Mr Hansen could have helped save 1200 people over the course of the past 40 years.
Mr Hansen saud when he started giving blood, he did so for about eight or nine years, but since the Bali bombings, he had been a much more regular donor.
"Being O-Negative and the fact I worked for a company that was pretty passionate about being blood donors, and the fact I was already on an emergency list, it made sense," he said.
"O-Negative is the blood that is universal and obviously there was a lot of people from overseas that were coming into Australia for treatment. At the time they were also very short of plasma."
IN THE NEWS
Mr Hansen ls also one of a select group of Anti D donors.
Anti-D immunoglobulin produced from the blood of donors in the Rh Program can prevent a Rh D negative woman from forming antibodies against her baby's Rh D positive red cells.
Without anti-D injections, this antibody can break down the red blood cells of any future Rh D positive babies a woman might have, resulting in serious anaemia, brain damage or death of the baby.
Since the program's inception, anti-D has helped protect the babies of over two million Australian women, and contributed to a dramatic decrease in the rate of stillbirth in Australia.
Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Group Account Manager Colin Littlejohn said this weekend was the perfect time to donate.
"We pushing for plasma, which we can make 18 products for that and is used in cancer treatment," Mr Littlejohn said.
"Surprisingly, people don't realise that 38 per cent of our donations go to cancer.
"People can donate plasma for the first time and Monday and Tuesday our booking numbers are very down, but we'll be here and we'll be open the whole time."
Due to COVID regulations, bookings are essential, but anyone over the age of 18 can give blood.
However, not everyone is eligible, which means you must complete a form and speak to a team member to determine your suitability. Plasma can be donated every two weeks.
If you wish to make an appointment to donate blood or plasma, you can do so by calling 13 14 95.