Bendigoians have taken out time from their summer holidays and rolled their sleeves up for a good cause.
Glenn McMahon started donating blood 25 years ago and has no plans to give it up.
“It’s a good way to help the community for people that need blood plasma and to help them through their time of hardship,” Mr McMahon said.
“Whether it’s someone that’s been in a car crash or a pregnant mother that may have some issues, you can help someone going through a medical crisis and every little bit helps.”
Mr McMahon’s advice to those who are yet to donate or thinking about giving blood is simple.
“Get in and do it. The staff are very, very friendly, it doesn’t hurt and it’s a good way to sit back and relax for an hour, you’re doing something worthwhile to help others,” he said.
Another donor, Shane Hampton said it’s a great way to “give a little back to the community” and he donates every two weeks, taking time out from his holidays to give blood.
“It doesn’t hurt at all, it’s just a little needle, there’s no pain. It’s something good to do,” Mr Hampton said.
Australian Red Cross Blood Service regional communications manager Erin Lagoudakis said there has been a fantastic response from Bendigo’s local blood donors, with the donor centre well booked.
“We do need more donors on Saturdays each week, and in 2018 we are also looking for more people to become plasma donors,” Ms Lagoudakis said.
The Australian Red Cross Blood Service are also set to increase the minimum donor age from 16 to 18 years on January 14 this year, also advising before the change, those underage wait until they are 18 to donate.
Blood Service chief medical officer Dr Joanne Pink said because of the links between iron loss and blood donations the organisation believe it’s in the best interest of donors to only give blood once they’re 18.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to donor safety we are always monitoring new and emerging research about donor health and, when necessary, will make changes to our donation guidelines,” Dr Pink said.
“We’re confident that this change won’t impact the blood supply. Our existing guidelines mean that once-a-year donations from 16 and 17-year-olds account for a relatively small number of the national’s total blood donations, and we are confident we can recover those through usual activities.”
To donate plasma at the Bendigo Blood Donor Centre call 13 14 95 to make an appointment or by chatting with one of our team members at your next blood donation.