Wollongong's blood donor centre smashes 1000 litre challenge

Session leader Luke Neven in the newly refurbished mobile blood bank which operates at a range of locations from Bowral to Batemans Bay. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Session leader Luke Neven in the newly refurbished mobile blood bank which operates at a range of locations from Bowral to Batemans Bay. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Wollongong's new state-of-the-art blood donor centre has collected a massive 1110 litres of blood in its first month of operation.

That beats the challenge of 1000 litres in one month the Australian Red Cross Blood Service and Illawarra Mercury threw out to the community to mark the official opening of the centre on March 25.

Blood service spokesman Jarrod Flynn said in the past month Wollongong blood donors had given blood, plasma and platelets 2373 times – more than the average monthly figure of 2000 donations.

Mr Flynn said those donations had helped save the lives of unborn babies, cancer patients, trauma victims, patients undergoing emergency surgery, and those on renal dialysis.

He said it was encouraging to note that more than 50 new donors had rolled up their sleeves at the modern centre which offers a convenient location at 45-53 Kembla Street, flexible hours and free parking.

‘‘Since moving we’ve had a huge response from the community, with many donors saying it’s much more convenient to drop in and donate before, during or after work,’’ Mr Flynn said. ‘‘It’s also got a warmer, less clinical, feel.’’

Mr Flynn said while the first month of operation had been an exciting time, the need for blood was ongoing.

‘‘We’d like to thank the community for their generosity, but we are also urging people to not forget that the need for blood never stops,” he said. 

‘‘We generally do see a dip in donations over winter as many of our regular donors catch colds and flu and are unable to donate, so this is a time we’d encourage anyone who’s feeling fit and healthy to book in.

‘‘One in three of us will need a blood or blood product in our lifetime, yet only one in 30 of us actually gives blood.’’

To donate at the new centre, or the region’s mobile blood bank, please call 131495 or visit www.donateblood.com.au.

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