CHRISTMAS and New Year’s Eve public holidays are putting a dent in Australian donor blood stocks.
Aussies are being urged today to roll up their sleeves and donate blood on New Year’s Eve to avoid a possible shortage in 2013.
An extra 7500 blood donations are needed nationally over the next week to ensure there is enough life-saving product available for cancer patients in early January.
Australian Red Cross Blood Service’s Shaun Inguanzo said it was crucial to donate during the holiday period.
“With public holidays falling in the middle of the week, a lot of our regular donors go on holidays,” Mr Inguanzo said.
Cancer patients are the biggest users of donated blood but the platelets used to treat them only have a shelf life of five days.
Mr Inguanzo said demand for blood was constant and one in three Australians would need a donation at least once in their lifetime.
“It’s like karma, what goes around comes around, if you expect blood to be there when you and your family need it, then the best thing to do is to make sure you promote blood donation yourself by becoming a donor if you can or encouraging other people to donate,” he said.
Of the blood donated, about 34 per cent is used by cancer patients, 19 per cent treats people with blood disorders, 18 per cent goes to those undergoing heart surgery or treatment for burns and 13 per cent towards sufferers of heart, stomach and kidney disease.
A further 10 per cent goes to orthopaedic patients and 4 per cent to pregnant women, new mothers and young children.
About 2 per cent is used for trauma patients, such as people who have been in road accidents.
Mr Inguanzo said there were 730 vacant appointments across NSW available on December 31 from 7am.
“For an hour of their time, they can give someone else a lifetime,” Mr Inguanzo said.
“It’s a very easy and straightforward process …
the donation itself only takes between six and 10 minutes.”
For more information call the Australian Red Cross Blood Service on 13 14 95 or visit donateblood.com.au