Give blood to avoid shortage, residents told

Cecilia AllenSound Telegraph
Former blood donor Bruce Zilm is encouraging Rockingham residents to give blood this Christmas to prevent a shortage.
Camera IconFormer blood donor Bruce Zilm is encouraging Rockingham residents to give blood this Christmas to prevent a shortage. Credit: Picture: Cecilia Allen, Cecilia Allen.

Rockingham residents are being encouraged to roll up their sleeves and give blood to curb the shortage of donations this Christmas.

Only six people are booked in to give blood at Rockingham’s Blood Donor Centre on Boxing Day, with more than 110 still needed to prevent a shortage.

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service has launched its Christmas Blood Blitz to help fill the Rockingham centre’s vacant appointments between December 18 and 29.

Former long-term donor Bruce Zilm, who visits the centre dressed as Father Christmas each year to spread festive love and cheer, has donated 487 times but because of illness, he can no longer donate and is instead encouraging others to.

“I started donating when I was 18,” he said. “If you’re healthy and can give blood then do it because one day you might need blood.

“It’s an opportunity to give something back to the community that’s worthwhile.”

Australian Red Cross Blood Service spokeswoman Jessica Willet said cancer patients were the biggest users of donated blood and relied on platelets to make it through chemotherapy.

“The problem is platelets cannot be stockpiled, so we need constant fresh supply,” she said.

Ms Willet said a blood donation was a gift money could not buy.

“Thousands of Australian patients will need blood this Christmas and New Year just to have the hope of spending those moments with friends and family,” she said.

Rockingham Blood Donor Centre will be open for blood donations on Boxing Day. To make an appointment, call 13 14 95 or visit donateblood.com.au.

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