After 400 donations, Barbara says it's in the blood

Barbara Street cannot remember exactly when she made her first blood donation to the Red Cross some time back in the 1970s.

However, she does remember it was very different to giving blood today.

'It was in the mobile service in the old Progress Hall at Oak Flats.

"It was a lot different in those days. All they'd ask is 'Are you feeling fit and well? Have you had something to eat?'

"I can clearly remember they had blue-and-white plastic banana chairs and you used to get watery orange juice afterwards and a couple of boiled lollies.

"I probably did it as a social thing. I was a young mother with kids at that time.

"I wasn't a regular donor until a few years later. When you realise the importance of it, you start to become a regular."

Yesterday, the Albion Park Rail woman made her 400th donation.

At the same time, the Red Cross Blood Service was calling on the Illawarra community to give blood over the holiday period.

Spokesman Jarrod Flynn said that while the demand for blood remained constant, the number of donors dropped as people went away on holiday.

Wollongong needed 550 donors to give blood this Christmas and New Year to secure stocks for cancer patients.

The Wollongong Blood Service will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day, but will otherwise be open, and is particularly concerned about having enough donors on December 24 and 27.

Mrs Street urges others to become donors.

"It's easy, the staff are friendly, you get a free milkshake afterwards and you are helping so many people."

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