It has been billed as the ultimate Christmas gift.
Australian Red Cross Lifeblood is calling for more people to give blood, with almost 9000 additional donors required to meet demand and help save lives over the festive break.
Lifeblood said a combination of Christmas holidays and the reopening of borders had led to a record number of donation appointment “no shows” across the country.
It estimated about half of appointments have been missed in recent weeks, prompting calls for at least 8985 more donors to roll up their sleeves between Boxing Day and January 3.
With blood needed somewhere in the country every 18 seconds, Lifeblood has urged Australians to provide the gift that keeps on giving this Christmas.
“Lifeblood’s message is this; this Christmas don’t just give something, give everything,” executive director of donor services Cath Stone said.
“Donate blood and you can help to save up to three lives.”
Ms Stone said the festive period was traditionally a challenging period for Lifeblood with regular donors taking time out to catch up with family and friends.
But this year has hit particularly hard with many people finally able to travel with COVID-19 restrictions easing around the country.
NSW alone requires 2700 new donors over the festive period to meet demand.
“We’re urging people to make blood donation a priority. The need for blood never stops and there are people in hospital right now relying on donated blood for serious accidents, surgery, complicated births and cancer treatment,” Ms Stone said.
“A particular part of our blood, called platelets, only lasts for seven days. Platelets are a vital clotting agent used in emergencies and cancer treatment, and it takes four donors to make just one bag, so we need a constant supply.
“Donating blood only takes an hour of your time but for a patient, it’s life-changing.”
To donate call 131 495, visit lifeblood.com.au or download the Donate Blood app.
Additional blood donors needed, by state
- Australian Capital Territory: 320
- South Australia: 500
- NSW: 2700
- Tasmania: 240
- Northern Territory: 125
- Victoria: 2000
- Queensland: 2200
- Western Australia: 900