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12 November, 2021

Lifesaving donors wanted

THE call has gone out for residents in Far North Queensland to roll up their sleeves and donate much needed plasma.

By Peter McCullagh

Dan Bywater at the Cairns Lifeblood Donor Centre, on Sheridan Street, North Cairns. PHOTO: Peter McCullagh

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood needs an extra 150 Cairns residents to donate plasma over the next fortnight and is urging donors to keep their appointments as cancellations and no-shows rise. 

As lockdowns lift in the southern states and border restriction relax in Queensland, surgeries recommence, and with experts concerned about a spike in road trauma as people get back behind the wheel in eastern states, Lifeblood is asking people to make saving lives part of their new normal. 

Anne-Marie Pisani – Lifeblood Donor Centre Manager in Cairns said half of all donation appointments were not being attended, while hospital demand was at its highest point in a decade. “Our donors have shown us incredible support over the last two years, however as life moves to COVID-normal, it’s important that people continue to donate to help ensure hospitals can continue to treat patients,” 

“There is no alternative for patients in need of plasma and we’d like to remind donors, and anyone who has thought about becoming a donor, just how critical they are. They are literally saving lives,” she added. Donating plasma is similar to the process used with blood donation, differing mainly in the frequency to which a donor can give. 

“Plasma donors can commit to a fortnightly donation if they choose. We have some really good long-term fortnightly donors who we are eternally grateful for.” 

For Cairns resident Dan Bywater the decision was an easy one. “It really is an important thing to do, to help others who really need these blood products,” he said. 

Dan has just made his eleventh donation of plasma in the past 18 months. 

Plasma is used within our hospitals in an enormous number of applications. Cancer patients, burns victims, complex heart surgery along with supporting patients with severe kidney and liver disease all benefit from plasma donations. 

If you have not donated blood or plasma previously, the easiest way to understand more and check your suitability as a plasma donor is to visit their website: www.donateblood.com.au to find out more information.


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