Santa (Nathan Sullivan) and registered nurse Andrea Buenen are calling for more donors.
Santa (Nathan Sullivan) and registered nurse Andrea Buenen are calling for more donors. Alistair Brightman

'Tis the season to give blood

SANTA stopped in at the Hervey Bay blood bank yesterday to lend his support to a push for more blood and plasma donations because supplies are not looking strong enough in the lead-up to the traditionally busy Christmas holiday period.

Australian Red Cross Blood Service Maryborough and Hervey Bay community relations officer Duncan Birt said they were starting to get a little anxious about supplies.

“We haven't hit the panic button but we're getting close to it,” he said.

Mr Birt said the blood bank in Pialba would be open especially for plasma donations this Saturday from 9am until noon.

He said people associated Christmas with traffic accidents and a high need for blood but it was also a difficult time because people were on holidays and some blood products had a five-day shelf life which meant a steady flow of donors was needed to keep stocks up.

“One in three needs it but only one in 30 give it so the arithmetic doesn't stack up,” Mr Birt said.

He said last night a group from Gayndah and Biggenden travelled in a bus for more than two hours after work to give blood in Maryborough.

“We fill them full of pizza and coffee and anything else we can think of, we bleed them as quickly as possible and send them home,” Mr Birt said.

He said sometimes they did not get home until midnight.

“We reckon that's a pretty bloody good commitment,” Mr Birt said.

The Maryborough blood bank at the base hospital will open today from 3.30pm until 7pm while the Hervey Bay centre in Hunter Street, Pialba will open for plasma donations from 7am until 10am today and for whole blood from 2pm until 8pm tomorrow.

For full opening hours, log on to www.donateblood.com.au.



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