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In the midst of a pandemic, it's expected that the average person will lose track of their regular habits. A week that once consisted of human interaction and various external stimuli has been replaced with a routine that's mostly confined to your lounge room.
Despite being unable to go about our daily lives as desired, it's important to remember that there are essential services that remain open – one of which is blood donation.
The Department of Health is still encouraging eligible people to donate, with Lifeblood medical director James Daly explaining to ABC News, "A blood donation is a life-saving donation and much of modern health care depends on availability and support of blood donors."
The need for blood donations is just as crucial during lockdown, with Lifeblood noting that they still require 29,000 donations per week.
It's worth mentioning, there are no confirmed reports of coronavirus being transmitted via blood transfusion anywhere in the world, which should ease the concerns of those wary to donate blood during this time.
There are thorough precautions put in place across blood donation centres Australia-wide, including a strict screening process, Wellness Checks (non-contact temperature taken and questions asked about your wellbeing, travel and other factors) upon arrival, stringent hygiene and the implementation of social distancing across all centres.
Blood donations help countless Australians, including:
- Cancer patients
- New mums and babies
- Immune-deficient patients
- People with blood disease
- Patients who need surgery or have suffered trauma
To reach even more Australians, Lifeblood has created Lifeblood Teams, a blood donation program that invites a group of people to join forces and donate blood whenever they can, with each member's donation counting towards the team's tally.
“Since 2012, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has worked to actively promote and encourage its more than 7,000 staff members to regularly donate blood to Australian Red Cross Lifeblood," Managing Director Marnie Baker asserts.
"The response through the years has been incredible and demonstrates our commitment to supporting communities. By way of example, in 2019 alone, our employees made a total of 1,653 blood, plasma and platelet donations, which in turn, helped save up to 5,000 lives."
Amanda Whitling, Executive General Manager of Consumer Distribution at IAG, explains there are regular meetings with employees to discuss Lifeblood initiatives.
"The fact that you save up to three lives for every blood donation really resonates with our people," she says. "We work with Australian Red Cross Lifeblood representatives to plan two blood drives a year where we encourage our employees to sign up to donate blood in their local area and answer any questions they may have about blood donations."
According to Whitling, 271 employees made 668 donations in 2019, saving up to 2004 lives, and IAG aims to recruit an additional 100 donors this year.
While the Army, Air Force (RAAF), Police and Australian Red Cross Lifeblood themselves topped the list of most donations in 2019, other companies turned out in droves:
- Telstra, 3808 donations
- James Cook University, 3592 donations
- University of Queensland, 3575 donations
- National Australian Bank (NAB), 3304 donations
- Services Australia (formerly the Department of Human Services), 3051 donations
- Melbourne University, 3030 donations
For those who want to donate but are ineligible to do so, you can still get involved by organising a Lifeblood Team on behalf of your company, family or friends.
The entire process of donating blood, from start to finish, has been thoroughly researched and fine-tuned, which includes implementing a system that follows the social distancing rules still firmly in place.
If you need to read more words of encouragement, these stories of donors' experiences might just help you take the leap.