Lifeblood is desperately calling for more blood donors, after a new survey revealed that many of us underestimate how much blood is needed by patients each year.
Conversely, we’re overestimating the number of actual donors.
The Australian Red Cross Lifeblood survey found that 4 out of 5 people were unaware that only 3% of the population donated blood. It also found that most participants didn’t know that 1 in 3 people will need blood donations in their lifetime.
Danica Vermeule from Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology said the urgent need for blood products is not well advertised.
“It was very surprising to hear that Australia has one of the worst donation rates and I don’t think people actually don’t know enough about it or what the donated products are used for,” she said.
“The public see advertising about donating every now and again and then in the news when stocks are low, but I think it comes down to advertising that there is an urgent need for blood stocks and then telling people why, how and where it is used.
“Unless people know what their donation is going towards beforehand, or a general idea of how it will help they just don’t think about it. You need to really get people on the emotional side of things, so they can relate.”
According to Lifeblood’s survey, 41% of people believe most donated blood is used for road accident and trauma patients, when in fact it’s most used in cancer treatments.
Beenleigh resident Jo Higgins recently started donating blood at the Springwood Blood Donation Centre and said at first, she was a bit hesitant.
“I guess I kept putting it off because of fear of the unknown, not knowing the process or where to start,” she said.
“I have 0-positive blood which 40% of Australians have, so I thought I really should be doing my part.”
“I’ve now made two blood and two plasma donations. I have only been doing it for a few months now but will be donating now for as long as I can.”
Ms Higgins said blood donations have saved her life – twice.
“I have had two blood transfusions in my life and have said many times that I need to give back. Other people donating blood has saved my life twice. Now I save other people,” she said.
“I am annoyed at myself for waiting this long to start but at least now I’m doing something.”
Ms Higgin said it’s a bonus to “receive messages letting you know what’s happened with your donation and how many lives you’ve saved or helped.”
To find out more about donating blood visit www.lifeblood.com.au