Blood flows in Red Cross challenge

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), LSIS Lee-Anne Mack (photographer)

Location(s): Rockingham, Western Australia

Topic(s): HMAS Stirling, Australian Red Cross Blood Service

Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Sarah Vanderpluym during a whole blood donation for Navy as a part of the Defence Blood Challenge 2016 at the Rockingham Collection Centre. (photo: LSIS Lee-Anne Mack)
Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Sarah Vanderpluym during a whole blood donation for Navy as a part of the Defence Blood Challenge 2016 at the Rockingham Collection Centre.

Officers and sailors from Western Australia's HMAS Stirling rolled up their sleeves recently to take part in the Defence Blood Challenge.

Conducted between September and December, the event challenges Navy, Army, Air Force and Defence civilians to see which group can make the greatest number of blood donations.

Warrant Officer Combat Systems Manager Artie Lavender said he was motivated to contibute to the Navy tally considering that each donation could mean the difference between life and death.

“Donating blood or plasma is the easiest mission there is to save lives,” he said.

“You give a fraction of your time, you get to sit back and relax in a comfy chair while the Red Cross does all the work.”

Australian Red Cross Blood Service Community Relations Officer David Favory said the importance of having a regular and reliable blood supply in the hospital system couldn’t be underestimated.

“With every donation received, three lives are saved,” he said.

As part of the blood donation drive, Stirling personnel signed up to Navy's 'Red25' team. The 'Red25' concept is a Blood Service campaign to encourage groups and workplaces organise themselves to allow for regular donations, that combined contribute 25 per cent of the country’s blood donations.

Petty Officer Medic Dennis Egan said owing to previous work commitments, it was the first time in 25 years that he was able to take part in the challenge.

“From the warm greeting I received on my arrival to the completion of the donation, all staff were very friendly and informative,” he said.

“I would highly recommend anyone who hasn’t given blood before, or who may have reservations, to give it a go as the [Red Cross Blood Service] staff make all the difference.”

To join the effort and sign up for the Navy's 'Red25' team, visit http://www.donateblood.com.au/defence.

Anyone can join, so roll up the sleeves!