Our Unsung Heroes0
Did you know that more than 78,000 blood donations were made by people over 60 years of age in the past 12 months?
Almost 15% of all donated blood comes from people over the age of 60, which makes older donors an integral part of our blood donor community.
There are a few misconceptions regarding older people and blood donation. People can donate blood for the first time up until the age of 70. If you’ve donated blood successfully in the past, you can donate all the way up to age 81.
Blood donation is an incredibly rewarding experience. Every blood donation has the power to save three lives. As well as helping to save people in an emergency situation, donated blood is used to help people stay strong during chemotherapy, provide support to the immune systems of those with immune disorders and is even used in medicines such as the chickenpox vaccine!
The reasons for people not being able to donate are the same between older and young people. Generally, if you are fit and healthy (and have been for a week prior to donation), are not under any health investigation, you should be able to donate. There is short exclusion periods for certain activities, such as travel to malaria-affected countries but these are only temporary.
The number one reason for older people not being able to donate blood is taking Aspirin. That again is only a temporary exclusion period, with donors able to donate again one week after taking Aspirin.
There a number of groups of older people donating throughout North Lakes and the greater Moreton Bay Region, generally as part of a community group or an over-50s housing estate.
You may have seen in the news recently that the Blood Service made a call for people with O negative blood to come in and donate. It’s a step that we don’t take lightly and only when we are very low on a particular blood group. This generally happens during the Winter months, when our regular donors may be affected by coughs and colds and we desperately need more blood to give to hospitals.
This means that we need more new donors, particularly at this time of year. If you are interested in donating, you can phone 13 14 95, or jump on to www.donateblood.com.au to check your eligibility and make an appointment. There is a Mobile Centre that visits all around the Moreton Bay Region, plus a fixed donor centre at Strathpine, located at 349 Gympie Road.
If you are interested in donating as part of a group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Liam Richardson, Red Cross Community Relations Officer, North Brisbane and Moreton Bay.