Navy determined to be a contender in Australia’s largest blood challenge

Published on LEUT Sarah West (author), CPL Matthew Bickerton (photographer)

The Royal Australian Navy's 2014 Defence Blood Challenge Ambassador, Sub Lieutenant Kieren Davis, stands in front of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service's mascot, Billy the Blood Drop.  (photo: CPL Matthew Bickerton)
The Royal Australian Navy's 2014 Defence Blood Challenge Ambassador, Sub Lieutenant Kieren Davis, stands in front of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service's mascot, Billy the Blood Drop.

The Commander of Joint Health and Surgeon General of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has urged Navy people to roll up their sleeves, give blood, and “knock the Army off their perch” in Australia’s largest blood donation challenge.

The ADF and the Australian Red Cross Blood Service jointly launched the 2014 Defence Blood Challenge in Canberra today.

The Challenge, which will run from 1 September to 8 December, will see Navy, Army, Air Force and Department of Defence Australian Public Service (APS) staff go head to head with each other to collect the most blood donations, and ultimately claim victory for their service.

Defence ADF and APS members and their families gave more than 4000 blood donations during the challenge last year, with Army the biggest donator. 

Navy’s Rear Admiral Robyn Walker, Commander Joint Health and Surgeon General of the ADF, said this year’s challenge would again help thousands of people in need of blood.

“The goal is to achieve more than 4,500 donations by attracting new donors during the three month challenge,” Rear Admiral Walker said.

“Every one of us, either in our private lives or in our roles in the Australian Defence Force, knows someone who has required or will require blood or blood products to save their life.” 

“They could be victims of road traffic accidents, family or friends who require treatment for Cancer, or our colleagues who are injured or wounded on deployment, particularly in areas such as Afghanistan and Iraq, and who may need large amounts of blood product to keep them alive,” she said.

Rear Admiral Walker said the Australian Red Cross Blood Service had been a great supporter of the Australian Defence Force for many years.

“It is pleasing to see our people extend the spirit of our service to support the Australian Red Cross Blood Service in return,” she said. 

To have your blood donation count towards Navy’s tally during the 2014 Defence Blood Challenge, follow these steps:

Step 1: Make an appointment through the Red Cross Blood Service on 131495.  

Step 2: Register on http://www.donateblood.com.au/who-can-give/club-red/join-group and pledge your donation to Navy. You must register for your donations to count!

Step 3: Organise a courtesy bus for your group (up to 6 people) which will pick you up from your work place, take you to the Donor Centre and return in approx two hours OR attend one of the Donor Mobile Units.  

The 2014 Defence Blood Challenge is the Australian Red Cross Blood Services’ largest group challenge and targets all members, employees & families of the Australian Defence Organisation. 

The challenge demonstrates a commitment by Defence to participate in a worthwhile community activity benefiting Defence members and the wider society.

As a proud member of the Royal Australian Navy, Rear Admiral Walker urged Navy people to roll up their sleeves and challenge Army to a real contest this year.

“We need to embrace this rivalry and do everything we can to knock Army off their perch. That will require everyone to do their bit,” Rear Admiral Walker said. 

The Royal Australian Navy’s 2014 Defence Blood Challenge Ambassador, Sub Lieutenant Kieran Davis mirrored her sentiments.

“It’s time for us all to step up and show the Army, Air Force and APS that Navy really is the senior service,” he said.

 Images of the 2014 Defence Blood Challenge launch are available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20142410.