This week marks the beginning of the annual Defence Blood Challenge, running for three months from 1 September until 30 November around Australia.
Defence personnel, family and friends can donate on behalf of Navy, Army, Air Force or APS with a prize awarded to the service with the greatest number of donations.
Former Navy members Graeme Bee and Peter Stephenson are doing their part to contribute to Navy’s overall tally by donating plasma every two weeks for the next three months.
“Donating blood is an experience well worth considering,” Graeme said “and at the same time you are providing a vital community service.”
Whether it’s one visit for a whole blood donation, or fortnightly visits for plasma donations, every drop goes to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service in the provision of much needed blood products for the Australian community.
Now based at Russell Offices in Canberra, Graeme was first exposed to giving blood in 1990 while serving as a Petty Officer Steward (POSTD) at HMAS Creswell. Last week Graeme achieved his 160th donation.
His work colleague Peter, who spent 24 years in the Navy as a Supply Officer first donated in 1976 at HMAS Platypus. Since then Peter has made 122 donations.
Although Navy set an impressive 553 donations over the three month period of the Defence Blood Challenge in 2012, the effort ranked Navy third behind the Army and Air Force.
There was a total record of 3295 donations last year with Army taking out the overall title on 1191 donations and Air Force awarded for the best per capita participation on 919 donations.
Competition is fierce between the three services and Navy is set to go from last place last year to taking the top prize this year.
Interest has come from far and wide with HMA Ships Sydney, Success and NUSHIP Canberra already booking donations for their ships’ companies.
Naval establishments HMAS Cerberus, Kuttabul and Stirling have also started the rivalry for the highest number of donations from a base.
To help Navy take the title, and participate in a positive cause, register online through the Club Red website www.donateblood.com.au/club-red.
When registering to Club Red see below for an example of the completed online form:
Organisation: Navy (type Navy)
Challenges: Defence Blood Challenge 2013 (this will automatically appear once you enter Navy in the field above)
Division: HMAS Kuttabul (select the base you are posted or the home port of your ship/squadron/unit)
Address Line 1: 12-14 Wylde Street (enter your personal home mailing address)
Address Line 2: HMAS Success (enter the name of your ship/squadron/unit for it to be counted in the tally)
Postcode: 2011 (enter your postcode)
Suburb: Potts Point (enter your suburb)
State: NSW (enter your state)
To learn more about the Defence Blood Challenge visit http://www.donateblood.com.au/defence.